Colby Faingaa in Alice Springs ahead of the Brumbies trial.
Colby Faingaa will use the frustration of an injury-plagued year to get his Super Rugby career back on track and win a place in the ACT Brumbies' back row.
But the Brumbies are being cautious with his return to the field and will rest him for their first trial match, which is against the Western Force in Darwin on Friday night.
The former Australian under-20s captain played just one game last season as he battled a persistent foot injury. It meant he was forced to sit in the stands while Michael Hooper dominated in his breakout season as an openside loose forward and was rewarded with Test selection.
Hooper has left to join the Waratahs, but the arrival of Wallabies star David Pocock will keep Faingaa out of the No.7 jersey. But far from fazed by Pocock's presence, Faingaa has promised to improve his versatility to show coach Jake White he can cover any position in the back row.
''It was a nightmare for me last year,'' Faingaa said. ''It was good to see the boys doing so well last year and that kept me positive while I was off the field.
''This year I just want to stay injury-free as my first goal and I just want to get as much game time as I can. I feel like I can play No.6, No.7 or No.8, so hopefully I can fit in there somewhere.''
Faingaa and Pat McCabe were in Alice Springs on Wednesday as part of the Brumbies' community visits while in the territory.
In an AFL dominated part of Australia, McCabe - a Wallabies inside-centre - and Fainga'a were hardly recognised when they hosted a rugby clinic.
''They seemed to really take to rugby and enjoy it … but I think they only knew our names with the aid of Wikipedia,'' McCabe said. ''That didn't matter, it was just fun to see them running around with a rugby ball.''
But while White prepares his players for the clash with the Force, McCabe and Faingaa returned to Canberra last night to train in the capital.
Faingaa's foot injury has healed, but the Brumbies have opted to rest him after a heavy training load last week.
He will play in the last trial against an ACT XV in the hope of securing a spot in the game-day squad for round one.