The ACT Brumbies are confident they have the depth to cover two-time Super Rugby champion Pete Samu, who has been ruled out of a semi-final clash in Argentina.
Samu stayed in Canberra when the rest of his teammates started an almost 30-hour journey to Buenos Aires Sunday after a rousing win against the Durban Sharks on Saturday night.
His absence is a cruel blow to a back row already missing David Pocock, but the Brumbies are just one win away from securing a grand final berth.
Samu was one of the stars against the Sharks, scoring his first try after just 56 seconds and competing a first-half double before injury kept him on the sideline after half-time.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar made the tough call to leave Samu at home rather than risking him given the taxing travel schedule and a short turnaround to play the Argentina Jaguares in the semi-final.
But McKellar described his squad as a unique group capable of doing "special things" on the road to make their first grand final since 2013 and chase their first title since 2004.
The winner of the Brumbies-Jaguares contest will play the winner of the game between the Canterbury Crusaders and Wellington Hurricanes in the grand final.
"They're incredibly special - I have never seen a tighter group of footballers," McKellar said.
"We spoke about that again before [the game]. There is a special feel and you don't get that very often within a football team.
"And when you do have it you have to take advantage of it, and cash in. We are in that position at the moment. We have confidence, we have belief, we have a group of blokes who love playing footy together, who love wearing the jersey and representing our people.
"And when you have that, special things can happen. We're excited about next Friday night and what lies ahead."
Samu, who is hopeful of being fit for the final if the Brumbies make it, said the team was riding high on confidence.
The Brumbies jumped on a bus to Sydney at 6am on Sunday before flying to Buenos Aires via Auckland.
"Having those losses earlier in the season, we definitely learned from those and we got better as the season went on. We are really hitting our straps now and the boys will keep on rolling into next week," Samu said.
"We don't want to get overconfident but the boys definitely take some confidence out of the past seven weeks. That game is done now and we have to look to next week, but we will take learnings and move on.
"We had a loss to [the Jaguares] earlier in the season and they're definitely a quality side. We just have to focus on ourselves and what we can control and hopefully heading over there, we just give it our all and hopefully get the result."
Blake Enever has been added to the touring squad to help fill the void left by Samu. It is expected Andy Muirhead, Murray Douglas and rookie prop Angus Wagner will be added to the travelling party. Mack Hansen was also in contention.
Losing players of the calibre of Pocock (out for the season) and Samu would be a crippling blow to most teams.
But the Brumbies are confident they have to depth to cover the injury blow, with Lachlan McCaffrey likely to return to the No. 8 role and Jahrome Brown to have a bigger job on the bench.
"Pete's played such a big role in getting us to where we are," McKellar said.
"I know we've got a little bit of depth in the back row and someone will step up to do a job. But players want to be playing at this time of year and [Samu] deserves to be."
The Brumbies' back row has been one of their strengths this year despite Pocock playing just three games before being ruled out for the season.
Tom Cusack has stepped up in the openside flanker position and Rob Valetini continues to impress on the opposite side of the back row.
McCaffrey is a proven starter and will give the Brumbies stability despite the injury disruption.
The Brumbies will play the Jaguares at 9am AEST on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the grand final.
The Brumbies have won seven games in a row, going on the longest single-season winning streak in the club's rich history.
The Jaguares, however, are also in impressive form despite flying under the radar, winning nine of their past 10 matches.
If the Brumbies win and the Hurricanes beat the Crusaders, the Brumbies will host the Super Rugby grand final on July 6.
SUPER RUGBY SEMI-FINAL
Saturday: Argentina Jaguares v ACT Brumbies at Jose Amalfitani Stdium, Buenos Aires, 9.05am.