Emerging ACT Brumby Darcy Swain will use the first round of Canberra's first-grade competition to force his way into contention to play at one of the most daunting venues in Super Rugby.
Swain will be one of several Brumbies trying to impress in the opening game of the John I Dent Cup season as coach Dan McKellar searches for the spark desperately needed to revive their season.
It's understood Swain is on the verge of finalising a three-year contract extension to stay with the Brumbies until the end of 2022, with the deal expected to be done as early as this week.
The 21-year-old lock is also on the radar to be thrust into the Brumbies side to play against the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch next weekend.
The Brumbies are monitoring the fitness of David Pocock (calf) and Allan Alaalatoa (wrist), while second-row giant Rory Arnold is expected to be available despite suffering a shoulder injury in a horror loss to Queensland.
McKellar will likely make mass changes to the game-day squad, juggling the need to rest Wallabies players as per an agreement with Rugby Australia with the challenge of getting their campaign on track.
Swain, who will play for Tuggeranong on Saturday, has played just two games in his young career but said he wanted to rise to the challenge if called upon to play the Crusaders.
"I didn't get much of an opportunity against [the Wellington Hurricanes] this year, but I'm going to keep pushing all the fellas at training and hopefully if I get rewarded if I play well in the John I Dent," Swain said.
"My goal this year was to start a game. Everyone wants to rip in at training and put on a shot, show what they've got.
"Playing against the Crusaders would obviously be the biggest challenge I've had so far. But I'd just rip in, just like a debut or any sort of game. Just give it my best."
Swain is expected to be one up nine or 10 Brumbies playing in defending premier Tuggeranong's clash against the Gungahlin Eagles, joining Tom Ross, Mack Hansen, Wharenui Hawera, Jahrome Brown, Jordan Jackson-Hope, Ryan Lonergan and more in the contest.
If the inter-squad heated battles at training, which left Connal McInerney concussed last week, are anything to go by, the Brumbies teammates will throw everything at each other.
McKellar will be keeping a close eye on all players, especially after the Brumbies were dismal in a 22-point derby loss to Queensland in Brisbane.
The Brumbies have been hampered by injuries so far this year. Pocock has effectively missed four games, Alaalatoa, Henry Speight and Lausii Taliauli all missed two weeks while Rob Valetini has been ruled out for up to two months.
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