There is no secret sauce when it comes to New Zealand’s remarkably consistent run of Super Rugby success, according to new Brumbies lock Murray Douglas.
What there is plenty of, however, is skill work.
Scotland native Douglas, who spent 2018 playing for the Hurricanes after making his Super debut for the Rebels, has joined the Brumbies on a two year deal.
And while he wouldn’t go as far as slandering the systems in place in either Melbourne or ACT, Douglas did give a sneak peek as to what life is like as part of the well oiled machine in Wellington.
“I wouldn’t be critical about Australia, the Kiwis just get a massive benefit of rugby being the number one sport,” Douglas told RUGBY.com.au.
“Everyone there lives and breathes it and everyone knows from an early age how to play and kids are working on basic skills really early.
“In New Zealand preseason, during the season, we’re always working on skills.
“Preseason in Australia are just as hard so I don’t think it’s anything like that but rugby is just their number one sport.
“I was certainly able to grow my game over there and I am hoping to put that to great use.”
Douglas is wearing his third different set of club colours in as many years and at 29, has morphed into a Super Rugby journeyman.
A practicing lawyer who set sail for Australia with his parter in 2014 before settling in Melbourne, Douglas has landed in ACT in a rather roundabout way.
Having earned his first cap as a Rebel before playing Mitre 10 Cup with Northland and spending the past 12 months with the Canes, Douglas jumped at the chance to return to Australia on a two year deal.
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“I really enjoyed playing and living in Australia when I was with the Rebels so the chance to come back here was just too good,” he said.
“I originally intended on leaving Scotland for nine months, two years, so I could do some travelling.
“I think it was just one of those ones where you play each level and you feel like you’re performing well and you just have to take those opportunities that pop up.
“After playing club footy and getting the chance to play Super I just grabbed it and ran.
“That’s how I’ve tried to play my whole career, really.
“The certainty of a two year deal and having the chance to come back to Australia – I just thought it was a really good opportunity again.”
Certainty may be what Douglas’ desires but there will be none of that in securing a regular role in the Brumbies’ pack.
They boast Rory Arnold, Sam Carter, Richie Arnold and Blake Enever as their go to guys in the lock department and Douglas will be forced to scrap for every minute.
As daunting as that may be the Scotsman wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I set very short term goals and try to achieve them,” he said.
“It’s on a week to week basis for me.
“We have some great locks down here and we have three capped players in that spot.
“The short term goal at the moment is to just have a good preseason and get as fit as I can.
“I am trying to get some game time there and we will see what happens from there.”
He may be a long way from that goal and a long way from home but that
If all goes well Douglas still dares to dream of a maiden Scotland Test cap.
“I originally came to Australia in 2014 and had just finished qualifying as a lawyer back in Scotland and wanted to finish travelling before I could kick off my career.”