SPOTLIGHT: The trash-talking days of Folau Fainga’a could be over after the Western Force hooker was given a clip for his light-hearted pot shots at former Brumbies teammates.
The Brumbies stood down eight Wallabies stars for Saturday’s clash with the Force as part of Rugby Australia’s World Cup resting policy.
The decision to rest them all at once backfired as the Force secured a vital 34-19 win, with the result dropping the Brumbies to third on the table ahead of their home clash with the ladder-leading Chiefs.
Wallabies hooker Fainga’a, who spent five seasons at the Brumbies, said in an entertaining pre-match media conference the mass changes meant the Canberra-based side were sending over the “little puppies” to allow the “big dogs” to rest at home and get their necks massaged.
He also took a series of amusing pot shots at individuals within the Brumbies’ team.
Western Force head coach Simon Cron was startled when he heard about Folau’s comments.
“I think that’s Folau having some fun with his friends and giving his coach a small heart attack, because I prefer not to load a gun for people to shoot at you,” Cron said.
“I think that will be the end of those bullets.
“Folau has been there for six years. Even though he’s throwing darts, they are all his friends.
“So he was probably having a little bit of fun with his friends. He’s that kind of guy.
“They will be laughing and messaging him. But I did call him afterwards to have a quick chat about life.
“And I just reminded him that he’s put a bullseye on his forehead, so he better show up ready to accept the bullseye and go at it.
“To his credit he did.”
Even though Folau was able to walk the walk, Cron doesn’t want a repeat of the trash talk.
“I think we’ve got to show ultimate respect to the Brumbies. They’re a great team,” Cron said.
“The thing for me is humility. He is joking with guys he’s been playing with for six years. He just took an opportunity to crack some friends.
“But from a team perspective, that’s not us.”
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said the decision to rest so many players for the trip to Perth was made in October or November last year.
Larkham said the six-day break between games and long trip meant it made sense to rest them now.
The Brumbies trailed 0-21 inside 25 minutes, and Larkham wasn’t happy with the preparation of some of his players.
“Just the stuff we talk about every week – making sure you’re looking at your footage, whether that’s training or game footage,” Larkham said.
“I just think some individuals could have done better.
“I’ll ask the question, just sit down with a couple of individuals and see where they got to with their preparation this week, and was it as good as it needed to be.”