Brumbies on the up? Club secures sponsorship deal and drought-breaking profit

Brumbies' Henry Speight scores the opening try
Brumbies' Henry Speight scores the opening try

The ACT Brumbies are poised to sign a long-term multi-million sponsorship deal on Wednesday to bolster their financial future and build on the club's first profit in six years.

It's understood the Brumbies have all but finalised a partnership with major sponsor Plus 500, giving the Super Rugby franchise off-field stability and drawing a line under a turbulent financial period.

The Brumbies will turn a profit this year for the first time since 2010 and just the fourth time since 2003.

The club will have its annual general meeting in December where it is expected the club will announce a profit of between $10,000 and $15,000.

It's a remarkable turnaround given the Brumbies lost more than $3 million in the past three years. They are one of the only Australian Super Rugby teams to make money.

The new sponsorship deal will ease headaches at Brumbies headquarters, with the Israel company believed to have committed to staying on board for the coming seasons.

The club has cut ticket prices in a bid to lure fans back to Canberra Stadium for home games and the playing roster will be bolstered by teh returns of David Pocock and Christian Lealiifano next season.

The good news is a welcome change for the club after enduring off-field drama last year and fighting for their Super Rugby future when the ARU decided to axe an Australian team earlier this year.

The Brumbies were taken off the chopping block after the ARU deemed the club was in a strong financial position and was set up for success under the guidance of chief executive Michael Thomson.

Coach Dan McKellar will take the reins for the first time and is close to finalising the last two roster spots available for the 2018 season.

Lock Blake Enever has been called into the Wallabies squad for the spring tour of Europe, overtaking Brumbies skipper Sam Carter in the Australian Test pecking order.

Carter will miss the Canberra Vikings National Rugby Championship semi-final at Viking Park on Saturday night to instead play for the Barbarians against New Zealand at Twickenham.

Meanwhile, the Wallabies are still riding high after a drought-breaking Bledisloe Cup triumph and have set their sights on an unbeaten tour of Asia and Europe for the first time in more than 20 years.

The Wallabies fly out of Sydney on Tuesday night intent on carrying the momentum from this month's 23-18 victory over the All Blacks in Brisbane into November Tests against Japan, Wales, England and Scotland.

No Australian team since the Greg Smith-coached Wallabies in 1996 have returned from Europe undefeated after a three or four-Test spring tour.

World Cup-winning mentor Rod Macqueen, his successor Eddie Jones and the likes of John Connolly, Robbie Deans, Ewen McKenzie and Michael Cheika have all coached Australian teams that have come unstuck trying to achieve the rare sweep.

But Wallabies captain Michael Hooper firmly believes Cheika's class of 2017 can accomplish the special feat.

"Obviously to win four and that's the expectation with this group," Hooper told AAP when asked on Tuesday what the Wallabies' tour goal was.

"It's a realistic goal for us, of course. The way we've been growing, the way we've been building - we haven't lost in quite a few games - so there's a good amount of belief around the squad and trust in what we're doing.

"So it starts this weekend with a really tough occasion against Japan."

The Wallabies tackle the Cherry Blossoms - one of the revelations of the 2015 World Cup - in Yokohama on Saturday.

Then it's Wales at Millennium Stadium, Eddie Jones' England and Scotland at Murrayfield on successive Saturdays.

While the Wallabies have had the wood over Wales for almost a decade, Hooper's men will be seeking revenge for four straight losses to England and redemption for a shock loss in Sydney this winter to the Scots.

"It's a really good test for us, I think, to see where we're at against a different style of team," Hooper said.

"We got to play New Zealand a couple of weeks ago, a good test to see what it's like against their style of rugby, and then to get over to the northern hemisphere to play their style.

"It's very different to what we've been facing in the last x-amount of games now, so another new test and we've got some new faces in this team, some good opportunity there to see guys step up and grow the squad going into 2018 and '19."

- with AAP

This story Brumbies on the up? Club secures sponsorship deal and drought-breaking profit first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.