Zack Holmes trains with the Brumbies on Thursday. Photo: Melissa Adams
Zack Holmes hopes a more aggressive game style and an overhauled kicking technique will boost his chances of forcing his way into the ACT Brumbies' game-day rotation.
And after getting a taste of Super Rugby action last year, the playmaker will use the ACT XV clash with Samoa A at Viking Park on Friday to show he is ready to be recalled to the top squad.
Holmes almost lifted the Brumbies into the finals in his rookie Super Rugby campaign after regular fly-halves Matt Toomua and Christian Lealiifano suffered season-ending injuries.
But while he has showed he can handle the next level of competition, the 22-year-old has to bide his time and wait for another chance to shine.
''I'm not a naturally patient kind of guy, but this is a team sport and you want what's best for everyone,'' Holmes said.
''My approach has been to improve as a player and I knew it was going to be difficult for me to play with everyone healthy and fit.
''When you get a taste of playing, it makes you more hungry to get back there, but it's about the squad and doing everything to get the team playing well.
''I'm just waiting for my chance. It's great to see the boys going well.''
Fifteen contracted Brumbies will be out to impress coach Jake White in the first match of the Pacific Cup.
Powerful No.8 Fotu Auelua will captain the side. Robbie Coleman, Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio and Colby Faingaa will get valuable game time.
Holmes loomed as the Brumbies' fly-half saviour last season when Toomua and Lealiifano were out.
With the Brumbies on the cusp of a finals appearance, White put his faith in the young pivot rather than convince Stephen Larkham to come out of retirement.
Holmes had a sparkling debut against the Wellington Hurricanes and was solid for the rest of the campaign as the Brumbies fell agonisingly short of a play-off berth.
To ensure he is better this season, Holmes wants to be more aggressive and faster on the field.
He has also changed his kicking technique. His accuracy helped the Brumbies win plenty of games last year, but a missed shot after the siren against the Queensland Reds was the difference between playing finals rugby and being relegated to seventh.
''I've got a bit more upper-body strength this year,'' Holmes said. ''I was a bit passive in contact last season, so I just want be a bit more aggressive. Goalkicking has been a big focus for me, I've spent quite a lot of time changing my technique to make sure it feels comfortable.
''I think my game's at a better level than it was last year, it's just a matter of if I get my opportunity, I've got to take it.''
ACT XV v SAMOA A at Viking Park, 6pm.
ACT XV: 1. Scott Sio 2. Siliva Siliva 3. Ruan Smith 4. Etienne Oosthuizen 5. Leon Power 6. Jordan Smiler 7. Colby Faingaa 8. Fotu Auelua 9. Ian Prior 10. Zack Holmes 11. Stephan Van Der Walt 12. Jordan Rapana 13. Tevita Kuridrani 14. Tom Cox 15. Robbie Coleman. Reserves: 16 Robbie Abel 17. Sione Taula 18. Les Makin 19. Gareth Clouston 20. Tim Cree 21. Mark Swanepoel 22. Sam Windsor.