ACT Brumbies rookie Rob Valetini hits like a freight train, but still learning to drive
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ACT Brumbies rookie Rob Valetini hits like a freight train, but still learning to drive

ACT Brumbies rookie Robert Valetini is the teenage forward who hits like a Mack truck but is still learning how to drive his parents' family wagon as he chases a Super Rugby dream.

The unknown and untested 18-year-old made his mark at Brumbies pre-season training before Christmas, thumping teammates in tackling drills and running over them when he's got the ball.

Rob Valetini during the last Brumbies training session for 2016.

Rob Valetini during the last Brumbies training session for 2016. Credit:Jay Cronan

At 113 kilograms and 193 centimetres, he's just the second Australian forward to sign a Super Rugby contract while still being a schoolboy.

But Valetini wants to be known for more than just a bruising back-rower of Islander decent who some have already tipped as a Wallaby-in-waiting when he comes of age.

The Melbourne-born son of Fijian parents with Scottish and Samoan grandparent heritage wants to be known as an all-rounder who can pinch the ball like David Pocock and run it like Ita Vaea.

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"It's scary to think he's just out of school," said veteran hooker Josh Mann-Rea.

"We do contact drills and it takes a fair bit to get him down. I think he'll be a special player in the future, once he's got a season or two in the professional program he's going to go a long way."

Melbourne junior Valetini signed with the Brumbies after parents Finau and Manu told moving to Canberra would give him valuable life experience.

He finished his school days in Melbourne, packed his bag and moved to the capital to start his Brumbies career.

The only problem is he only has his learner's driving permit and has been relying on his new teammates to show him around Canberra and get him to training on time.

"There are so many Wallabies at the Brumbies so there must be something good here and I know I can learn," Valetini said.

"My parents thought it was a good move to get out of my comfort zone and grow up a bit.

"I got my learner's permit just before I moved up so I've been doing a bit of driving around here to get up my hours.

"The boys are pretty good, they come and pick me up if there's a function on or getting me to training."

Valetini says he's targeting a spot in the Australian under-20s side next year.

The Brumbies' back row is stacked with players including Scott Fardy, Chris Alcock, Tom Cusack, Jarrad Butler, Jordan Smiler and Lolo Fakaosilea.

But Valetini looms as the wildcard young gun who isn't afraid to take on any opponent, even if they're twice his age.

His back-up plan is to become a police officer and he's investigating ways to pursue that while he chases his rugby goals.

"I know I need to learn a few things because I'm still young so my eyes are on that Aussie under-20s team," Valetini said.

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"If I do get a Super Rugby shot I'll take it with both hands. But I need to learn a lot.

"I like No.8 because it's more hands on the ball and running. I prefer that ... but I don't want to be a big, unfit ball carrier. I want to get on the ball more like what Poey does and be a lineout jumper as well."