Johannesburg: Towering second-rower Rory Arnold is determined to make his last year in a Wallabies jersey for the time being really count as part of what could be a Brumbies-heavy tight-five playing to its strengths against South Africa this weekend.
Arnold has been in fine form for the Brumbies in Super Rugby and was a big part in their surge to the semi-final before the side was beaten by the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
After the World Cup Arnold will pack his bags and join brother Richie to play at Toulouse in France in a defection that epitomises the talent drain that plagues national unions across the globe.
Arnold's 19 Tests means he is ineligible to return for the Wallabies and he is at peace with that. The chance to some play decent rugby before then is a big motivator ahead of an enormously important year.
"It would be nice to finish on a high and play some really good footy at Test level," Arnold said. "Obviously moving on at the end of the year the curtain will shut down on my Test career but I'm really excited and looking forward to this year.
"It's nice to have had a pretty solid Super Rugby season with the Brumbies and now it's about getting on the same page as the Wallabies boys and hopefully get an opportunity.
"It's a big year coming up and we have a lot of depth in the lock department and if we're all playing our best footy that can only be a good thing for Cheika and the Wallabies to have."
Last year Arnold was overlooked on a number of occasions at Test level. He only featured in four Tests, with the last being off the bench against New Zealand in Yokohama in October.
In all three matches on the spring tour coach Michael Cheika went with Izack Rodda and Adam Coleman as his second-rowers but the latter is not in the current touring party due to injury.
Arnold and Rob Simmons are set to battle it out for a starting spot in Saturday's showdown (Sunday AEST) at Ellis Park and there is a view that Cheika should reward a number of Brumbies forwards who helped their team become the only Australian franchise to play finals.
Brumbies forwards Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Faingaa, Scott Sio and James Slipper are all pushing for minutes in the Rugby Championship opener.
"It'd be nice to keep that [Brumbies combination] together but it's whoever is playing their best footy," Arnold said. "You're not going to just play those group of players because they play Super Rugby together.
"For us Brumbies boys it's about getting on the same page having only a week together with the team."
There might even be some quintessentially Brumbies elements to the way the Wallabies play, possibly in the form of the driving maul, which was used to great effect at Super Rugby.
"I won't give away a whole lot but we're doing a bit of work around the maul and the lineout," Arnold said. "I think we'll have a solid platform to play off this year."
Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano, who is in his first Wallabies squad since 2016, said he hoped a cohort of those from nation's capital would get a chance to shine.
"I think they [Wallabies coaches] are trying to use the strengths of [the Brumbies] and then add in their own twists and flavour on it as well," Lealiifano said. "I think they've definitely acknowledged how well we've gone this year as a Brumbies team but just trying to maximise the strengths they use as well. The boys have done some mauling stuff and some scrum stuff and they're really adopting that to be on the same page."