Home truths about his work ethic are behind ACT Brumbies young gun Len Ikitau's rise from a relative unknown to being on the cusp of a Wallabies jersey.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has lauded the 21-year-old outside back for his response to tough conversations between the pair which could have gone two ways.
Ikitau could have dropped his head and sulked. Instead he now finds himself in a Wallabies squad and in line to play a Super Rugby AU decider against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.
The emerging Brumby is the bolter in Dave Rennie's 44-man Wallabies squad with an eye on the Bledisloe Cup and a Rugby Championship campaign.
Minutes in Super Rugby have at times been hard to come by, but a new attitude has laid the platform for a meteoric rise.
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"We've had a number of pretty tough conversations over the past 12 months in particular. We had one about three or four months ago which was really honest," McKellar said.
"I challenged Lenny around a few things and he didn't sulk, he just knuckled down and he has become a player who is probably one of the best trainers in our squad.
"He trains consistently well day in, day out. Even just a few months ago, that wasn't the case. Off the back of that, he's earned an opportunity with the Brumbies.
"Dave and the coaching staff at the Wallabies see something in him. He's got a huge future ahead of him."
Ikitau is one of 13 Brumbies in the mix for the end of season internationals, with a trio of other uncapped ACT stars in Noah Lolesio, Tom Wright and Irae Simone also named.
Should he retain his place in McKellar's match day squad this week, Ikitau's role will be simple: bring energy and back yourself.
Brumbies assistant coach Peter Hewat believes the rising star will be up to the task against a rampaging Reds outfit looking to cause an upset behind enemy lines.
"A couple of things have changed for Lenny ... Him having some confidence, getting a couple of games at Super and actually understanding he belongs at this level, then he can perform at this level," Hewat said.
"He has shown some really nice glimpses over the past month, and hopefully now he understands what a good player he is and he can take his game to another level.
"It says we're doing some things right. The proud thing for me is a couple of guys have been given that opportunity through some hard work.
"There are four guys in there who actually haven't got caps before. As a coach it's a proud moment because you know with the work they've put in, they deserve that opportunity.
"We've acknowledged those guys this week but they know, and we know, the more important thing is on Saturday night."
SUPER RUGBY AU GRAND FINAL
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium, 7.15pm.