Allan Alaalatoa breaks into a cheeky grin when he mentions the aura of confidence carried around by rookie playmaker Bayley Kuenzle at training this week.
"He is probably getting a bit ahead of himself," Alaalatoa joked with a glance over his right shoulder.
There stood Kuenzle with a wide grin and a shake of the head as he prepares to steer the Brumbies around Canberra Stadium in a Super Rugby AU battle with Queensland on Saturday.
Kuenzle is poised to line up against Reds No. 10 James O'Connor this week having stepped into the void left by Noah Lolesio's severe hamstring strain which leaves him in a race against the clock to be fit for the finals.
But Alaalatoa has no doubt 22-year-old Kuenzle is up to the task in a Brumbies outfit bolstered by youngsters with plenty of promise like emerging lock duo Nick Frost and Darcy Swain.
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"Nah, jokes mate, nah. [Kuenzle's] been really good, he's someone who obviously had big shoes to fill with Noah getting injured," Alaalatoa said.
"For him it was just about getting his opportunity. I was really impressed with how he went last week and I'm looking forward to seeing how he goes again, how he grows again.
"It's really good [to see young players coming through]. All it is is for them to take their opportunity, and this comp has allowed them the opportunity to wear the jersey.
"As a young lad coming through, you can only train so much. To get an actual taste of Super Rugby is really special, that's how you grow as a player.
"BK is getting his opportunity now, same as Nick Frost, he is coming through and getting a taste of Super Rugby. They're both relishing the opportunity and both bring a lot of energy.
"That's what you want as a leader, to see your young guys coming through."
Kuenzle watched from the bench as Lolesio orchestrated an opening round win over the Reds back in January before the competition was derailed by COVID-19.
Now he finds himself in the hot seat and says he will turn to Lolesio for advice should he feel the need leading into the top of the table clash.
"It was just unfortunate with Noah getting injured a couple of weeks ago. I've just got to take my opportunity," Kuenzle said.
"We were working together well in the pre-season with Reesjan [Pasitoa] as well. We've been playing well together in training and taking ideas off each other.
"It's been a good partnership between us two, it's unfortunate he got injured but I'm here to take my opportunity.
"Getting some minutes under my belt and knowing I'd put in the work during the week and being able to be confident in myself and play how I want to play, it's going to be a lot better for me this week. It's supposed to be dry so hopefully I can have a crack and enjoy it."
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.