Len Ikitau wonders where he would be without his old Brisbane Boys' College teammate Darcy Swain.
Certainly not in Canberra, preparing to take his place at outside centre for the ACT Brumbies in their Super Rugby AU game against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night.
"Things happen and I don't think me playing for the Brumbies would have happened if Darcy wasn't down here helping me through," Ikitau said.
It was Swain who lured Ikitau to Canberra in the first place. The pair had played together in the Brisbane Boys' College first XV before Swain was signed by the Brumbies after finishing school in 2015.
A year later Ikitau was struggling for a look-in, so he turned to one of his best mates.
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"At the end of 2016 I didn't really have any opportunities, and I hit up Darcy to see if there was anything down here. He mentioned Tuggies were looking for a centre," Ikitau said.
"After that, everything just fell into place. I moved down here after school and he has been looking after me ever since. He has played a massive role in my success down here at the Brumbies.
"He helped me move down here, I lived with him for a couple of years. I'm very happy to have Darcy as a good mate down here. All I knew [when we first met] was Darcy was a kid coming down from Cairns.
"He was tall and lanky and needed to work on his skills, but he has come a long way. I like the way he plays now, he is a big body and I'm proud of him."
The pair have both featured in Dan McKellar's starting side during an unbeaten start to the Brumbies' Super Rugby AU season; Ikitau at outside centre replacing the void left by a club great in Tevita Kuridrani, and Swain at lock.
"Lenny is one of my best mates. I have known him since I was 15, he was 14. We went through BBC together for three years, he stayed there for his fourth and then I had a word to him," Swain said.
"I was like 'mate, come down, get away from Queensland, get away from the hype, come down here and work hard'. It paid off for both of us.
"I always knew he was born for this. You've seen it in his first two games, he has killed it. There is no doubt he belongs, he has owned that 13 jersey. I know he is destined for bigger things, not just in a Brumbies jersey.
"One day he will be in green and gold for sure."
It seems Swain is not the only one who thinks so. Ikitau was drafted into Dave Rennie's Wallabies squad last year to get a taste of life at the elite level despite a lack of Super Rugby experience.
Now he has already emerged as one of the competition's most devastating players in a star-studded back line featuring Wallabies Nic White, Noah Lolesio, Tom Banks and Irae Simone.
"I've played with Irae the last three years, so I know how he plays and he knows how I play. He works with my strengths and it has been a good last two rounds with him," Ikitau said.
"The first game was pretty tough, the full 80, I was cramping at the end but I got through it. I managed to get another 80 minutes against the Tahs, so I'm happy with how the footy is going.
"Two from two, the boys are pretty happy with how we're going. We had an awesome win last week and now we're looking forward to this week against the Rebels."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND THREE
Saturday: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Gem and Stan Sport. Tickets from Ticketek.
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