Kane Douglas knows he has all the physical and mental attributes Waratahs coach Michael Cheika expects from him as a second-rower.
However, the 202-centimetre and 119-kilogram Wallaby, with 14 Test caps, admits he has not been as giving of those assets as he should have been.
But with two Super Rugby trials behind him – including 20 minutes against the Rebels in Albury last Saturday week and 60 against the Blues in Sydney last Friday – Douglas, 24, believes he can show Cheika the consistency he wants will be forthcoming.
He says helping him be on his toes for the Super Rugby season that will start next week will be the presence of South African second-rower Jacques Potgieter – the Waratahs' new marquee signing.
Add to that the presence of two other specialist second-rowers on the Waratahs roster in Greg Peterson and Will Skelton, and the ability of back-rower and captain Dave Dennis to play there as well, and there is little scope for any of them to relax and believe selection is a given.
Douglas has found extra inspiration by training with Potgieter, a former Springbok and Blue Bulls player who was playing in Japan before he joined the Waratahs, where he already has a nickname – "Potsy". The 194cm and 115kg Potgieter should make his debut in an NSW jersey in the Waratahs' last trial on Friday against the Highlanders in Newcastle.
After arriving in Australia just before NSW's first trial, the Rebels game in Albury, he rested to recover from a calf niggle, but then trained the whole of Monday's two-hour session at Moore Park.
Asked what he would take from Potgieter's game, Douglas said, "probably that South African way of playing rugby in the forwards".
"They just have no regard for themselves really. They just want to smash the opposition.
"I have been happy with mine [physicality], but probably for the last couple of years I haven't been consistent with it, so I will be trying to deliver that every week. That's what 'Cheik' wants from me.
"So you just have to keep hard on yourself and with things like that – big hits and physicality – it is contagious. If someone does something like [a big hit] on the field it's, 'I really want to do that to', or, 'How good was that, I can do that'.
"I remember watching a few [of Potgieter's past] games and thinking, 'How good is that?' You see his hair thrashing and running hard, like Martin Lang style. He will be good, he will fly into it."
Pressed on his confessed lack of consistency, Douglas said: "I just think at times I have probably slackened off. It starts in training, with putting in with every session. Cheik has been at us to be hard on each other."
Cheika said he agreed with Douglas' self-appraisal, but liked what he had seen of him since he returned from his break after the Wallabies tour.
"I like what he has brought to both games so far around the physical edge," Cheika said.
"We have to become a more physical team – there is no doubt about it – and Kane, I see, as a guy who can lead that battle."
Cheika said there was far more to Potgieter than his physicality.
"He is a smart footy player and knows how to use that," Cheika said. "He is not just going to come in and chop down trees, or hammer rocks.
"The consistency in his game – his ball carrying, tackling – is very good and always, every game [it is] the same.
"More of those influences we can have in our team, the better."