Dan McKellar is urging Australian rugby to avoid throwing its rising stars to the wolves, fearing it could drain self-belief and leave them playing club rugby abroad "because apparently they're not good enough".
The ACT Brumbies coach has named what he says is likely the youngest lock pairing of his coaching career for a clash with the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
Twenty-year-old Nick Frost will earn his second Super Rugby AU start alongside 23-year-old Darcy Swain for a showdown that will draw the attention of national selectors.
But the Brumbies mentor has hit out at the instant-star syndrome sweeping over Australian rugby, labelling the code war for 16-year-old Joseph Suaalii's signature "madness" and urging patience when it comes to the game's emerging talent.
NSW Waratahs captain Rob Simmons is set to join Australian locks Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman and Izack Rodda in plying their trade overseas - although there is interest in luring the latter to the ACT next year.
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The exodus has sparked speculation the Giteau Law could be tweaked, amid concern a lack of depth could see youngsters like Swain and Frost sent into the international arena too early.
"You don't want to be throwing locks into Tests against the All Blacks, Springboks and Argentina when they're not ready. All it does is set them back," McKellar said.
"It's a tough position to play, you're in the heart of the action at the scrum, lineout, maul, breakdown, ball curry, there's no place to hide there. You've got to make sure when they're getting exposed, that they're ready to be exposed.
"It always takes time [to get players up to speed, even at club level]. You don't want to be throwing them out there before they're ready.
"I've seen it happen so many times in the past, when players are exposed too early. All of a sudden these days you've got keyboard warriors and social media, people are ripping into them.
"They lose confidence, they lose belief, and before you know it they're sitting in France playing for a club over there because apparently they're not good enough.
"You've got to take your time. You want them to be ready, you want to make sure you're not throwing them out there too early so they're champing at the bit.
"When they do get picked, they'll know they're ready to perform. It's not just about playing in a Brumbies jersey, it's about performing in a Brumbies jersey.
"Frost, Swain, or Trevor Hosea from the Rebels, Esei Ha'angana or whoever it might be, let them develop and become good Super Rugby players, play good games consistently for their franchise, and then let's start worrying about what the future holds for them."
McKellar says Reds loose forward Harry Wilson is a prime example having been bandied about as a potential Wallabies bolter.
All the signs of a promising player are in place but "let's not think he is going to be the next Mark Loane or Toutai Kefu after half a dozen games". There is perhaps no better example of a player who has earned his stripes than Pete Samu - Wilson's direct rival this week.
The 28-year-old plied his trade in club rugby before swooping on an opportunity with Tasman in New Zealand's provincial competition. He would soon link up with the Canterbury Crusaders - Super Rugby's most successful team - before joining the Brumbies and earning Wallabies caps.
"He has done the hard yards over a long period of time. That will be a really good match-up and I'm sure the Wallaby coaching staff will be watching that one closely." McKellar said.
"I don't think coaches are looking too much around the jaw bone. I know as a coach, you're not looking for the blokes that rant and rave, you're looking for the blokes who talk with actions. Pete certainly does that."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND FIVE
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.
Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Rob Valetini, 7. Will Miller, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Bayley Kuenzle, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: Connal McInerney, 17. James Slipper, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Tom Cusack, 20. Lachlan McCaffrey, 21. Issak Fines, 22. Mack Hansen, 23. Andy Muirhead.
Reds squad: 1. Dane Zander, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Liam Wright (c), 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Scott Malolua, 10. James O'Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Chris Feauai-Sautia, 15. Jock Campbell. Replacements: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Feao Fotuaika, 18. Jack Straker, 19. Ryan Smith, 20. Fraser McReight, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. Bryce Hegarty, 23. Jordan Petaia.