ACT Brumbies workhorse Tevita Kuridrani hopes he will be able to make a decision about his playing future before the Super Rugby AU season ends as the 61-Test Wallaby weighs up contract options.
The veteran outside centre is set to go head to head with two of Australian rugby's rising stars - Jordan Petaia and Hunter Paisami - when the Brumbies host the Queensland Reds on Saturday night.
Kuridrani, one of the most high-profile Wallabies off contract at the end of the year, is among a group of several players stuck in limbo as Rugby Australia bosses attempt to secure a trans-Tasman Super Rugby deal.
The coronavirus shutdown halted contract negotiations, but it is hoped RA will grant approval for clubs to start re-signing players in the coming weeks despite competition uncertainty.
Kuridrani has spoken to RA, the Brumbies and overseas clubs after signing a one-year extension for the 2020 campaign.
"We're still in talks. Nothing has been set yet, I'm trying to get something before this tournament ends so I can know my future," Kuridrani said. "I'm not leaning towards anything in particular, just trying to work out what is best."
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It has been reported Kuridrani is one of a handful of players who could qualify for a sabbatical overseas in the wake of coronavirus wage cuts, but he can retain Wallabies eligibility irrespective of his decision because he qualifies under the 60-Test "Giteau Law".
Kuridrani has become somewhat the forgotten man in Australia's No. 13 debate, despite his relentless workload and ultra-reliable form.
Two-time World Cup-winner Tim Horan said Kuridrani should be the Test front-runner before the Super Rugby season resumed last month and the Fijian powerhouse has been a Brumbies standout in the first three games.
Kurdirani has played 128 games for the Brumbies since making his debut in 2012, and has barely missed a minute of Super Rugby since becoming the club's permanent outside centre in 2013.
His reliable play has led to him playing every minute of his past 26 Super Rugby matches, an incredible feat in such a demanding back-line position.
The 29-year-old scored seven tries last year and was at his devastating best in defence, but former Test coach Michael Cheika opted for Petaia and James O'Connor as his preferred No. 13 options.
Pasami has filled the outside centre role at the Reds while Petaia has been injured, but Petaia is expected to make his comeback for the clash against the Brumbies.
"It will be good if Petaia plays - he's a good young talent and a really strong No. 13," Kuridrani said.
"It will test our back line and we're looking forward to it. They've got a really young back line, but it's very exciting. It's going to be good to see how both match up."
The Brumbies-Reds contest could be the one that ignites Australian rugby again given both teams are undefeated in the domestic competition and were the leading try-scorers of all teams in the traditional Super Rugby format.
The Brumbies scored 31 tries in six games before the coronavirus-forced shutdown and they had the best points differential (+93) in the competition. The Reds scored 32 in seven games, the highest-tally of teams from Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Japan.
It has put the Brumbies on notice for a shootout in the capital. The Canberra side has scored 13 tries in three Super Rugby AU games, but more importantly has conceded just four.
"We left a few points out there on [last weekend]," said ACT prop Scott Sio. "That's the great thing about this squad, we're always working to grow as a team because winning at the end of the day is the most important thing.
"We've [won] a few different ways the last three games, so hopefully we can put it all together."
The Brumbies are expected to name a relatively unchanged side on Thursday morning, with coach Dan McKellar sticking with a winning formula.
Lock Darcy Swain is back in selection contention after missing the win against the Force last weekend.