Forgotten Wallaby Pete Samu says unfinished business in Australian rugby convinced him to sign a contract extension to stay in Canberra.
The ACT Brumbies have landed a massive off-season retention coup, re-signing Samu until at least the end of 2022 and beating overseas interest for the star back-rower.
Samu still has 12 months remaining on his existing deal, but said he had no hesitation making a long-term commitment to the club.
The main driver is his desire to force his way back into the Wallabies after being a surprise omission from the World Cup squad.
The chance to remain close to family - both in Canberra and Melbourne - and an opportunity to chase Super Rugby success sweetened the deal, which has been finalised two weeks before the squad returns for pre-season training.
"A lot of things went into it for me. Being back home with family is huge and I'm really enjoying my time in Canberra," Samu said.
"I want to get back in the mix for that gold jersey [of the Wallabies].
"I've been chatting to [coach Dan McKellar], he's really showed a lot of belief in being able to make a name for myself at the Brumbies.
"Having the year I've had, hopefully I can pull that gold jersey on again. It's made me want it more. Not getting picked in that World Cup squad ... I'm not really satisfied with playing the Tests I have so far. And enjoying my time in Canberra, I'm really motivated to get back in there."
MORE CANBERRA SPORT
Samu's decision to stay is a vote of confidence for the Brumbies, who are constantly fending off interest from cashed-up clubs in Europe and Japan.
He is the latest player to make a long-term commitment, joining Nic White, Tom Banks, Scott Sio and Allan Alaalatoa in staying until at least the end of 2022.
Another forgotten Wallaby, Tevita Kuridrani, is expected to attract overseas interest in the off-season after signing a one-year extension to stay at the Brumbies for the 2020 campaign.
James Slipper and Joe Powell are yet to make decisions about their future beyond next year, but it's understood the Brumbies have started talks with hooker Folau Faingaa in the hope he will stay.
The Wallabies' decision to snub Samu proved to be an unexpected boost for the Canberra Vikings on their way to the National Rugby Championship grand final.
He was the Vikings' player of the year and will join the Barbarians in the coming weeks for three games in the United Kingdom, including a clash against Fiji at Twickenham.
Samu, a two-time Super Rugby champion, joined the Brumbies this year after a successful stint at the Canterbury Crusaders but former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika decided he wasn't need for the World Cup.
He will be a key piece in McKellar's puzzle for the 2020 campaign after the loss of senior leaders including David Pocock, Chrisitian Lealiifano, Henry Speight and Sam Carter.
Samu and Lachlan McCaffrey will help mentor young gun Rob Valetini, who made his Test debut this year, and work with Olympic Games hopeful Tom Cusack, recruit Will Miller and rookie Jahrome Brown.
Cusack was named in the Australian sevens side on Tuesday as they aim to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in Fiji this weekend. It will be Cusack's first sevens tournament since he was an all star at the Rio Olympics three years ago, but he will juggle his Tokyo hopes with Super Rugby duties next year.
Samu is confident the new breed of Brumbies will be able to stand tall despite the absence of some of the club's biggest names.
"It's really exciting to see all the new faces come in next year," Samu said.
"I believe in the group we've got. We've got some experience, some first-year players and some new, young boys coming through. With the program the Brumbies have, I'm confident we can get that job done."
The Brumbies start pre-season training on November 18, with Wallabies players to return in January.
Their first game of the seaosn is against the Queensland Reds on January 31, giving McKellar limited time to find a new captain, goal kicker and flyhalf in a revamped side.