ACT Brumbies tackling guru Peter Ryan has challenged the players to find their attacking spark without sacrificing the goal of becoming the No. 1 defensive team in Super Rugby next year .
The Brumbies are on a mission to improve their attack next year as they attempt to break a New Zealand curse and stamp themselves as a Super Rugby title contender.
They scored an average of just 21 points per game last season compared to title winners the Canterbury Crusaders' average of more than 36 points per game.
But Ryan says they cannot disregard defensive numbers if they want to be a genuine threat in the competition.
The Brumbies were the third best defensive team in the competition last last year, conceding just 272 points in 15 games in the regular season.
"We need to decrease the amount of tries scored against us ... We need to be under 20 points against us regardless of whether it's tries or penalties.
"If we can do that, the Brumbies have historically been able to score more than 20 points, so that puts us in a good position.
"In 2015 we were the best defensive team in the history of the competition. In 2016 we sacrificed a lot of time on our defensive structure [to look at attack].
"From my point of view, our standard dropped from where we wanted it but then we stepped back up last year. We want to be at the top level next year and be No. 1 in defence.
"Although we're changing our attack a bit, I think our defence will be along for the ride."
Ryan, a Super Rugby and NRL title winner and dual-code hardman, is back in Canberra for Brumbies pre-season training after completing a stint with the Fiji side on its tour of Europe.
The former Brumbies flanker and Brisbane Broncos forward has signed a one-year contract extension to stay in Canberra as part of Dan McKellar's first-year coaching set up.
However, Ryan will weigh up his options at the end of the season before deciding if he will return to the Brumbies or pursue challenges in rugby union or rugby league.
Ryan is a valuable asset in Australian rugby given the Brumbies were the only team to concede less than 300 points.
The NSW Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels, Queensland Reds and Western Force all conceded more than 400 points in their 15 games last year.
"Every day for me is a joy to turn up ... Every day you can see individual improvement," Ryan said.
"It's a really good set up this year that will gel well for a good 2018. The European trip was a lot of work, but I was seeing new places every day so I enjoyed it.
"Moving forward I think Fiji can be a really positive influence in international rugby. But I'm glad to be back here and excited about what we're working towards for next year."