New recruit Sosefo Kautai has been backed to slot straight into the ACT Brumbies' front row as Dan McKellar looks to fill the club's No.3 jersey this week.
Kautai had his first training session at Brumbies Headquarters on Friday, having flown in from New Zealand late last week to provide squad cover amid a front row injury crisis.
Injuries to Tom Ross, Scott Sio and James Slipper will likely keep them sidelined for Friday night's clash between the Brumbies and Western Force at Canberra Stadium
With skipper Allan Alaalatoa suspended for the next two fixtures, McKellar has the option to insert Kautai straight into the Brumbies' XV or elevate rookie Archer Holz.
Loosehead prop Harry Lloyd had a strong first impression of the former Waikato Chiefs player, saying Kautai would be ready to fit in should he receive the nod from selectors this week.
"He's been good, he's come in with good energy straight away," Lloyd said.
"We saw him in the unit session [Monday morning] and he's good at set-piece, which is what we pride ourselves on in the front row here.
"He's got a steep learning curve this week to get up to speed with everything but he's taken the challenge well.
"I'm sure if he gets the nod come Friday, he'll be ready to go. As a front row unit, we back anyone to do the job."
The Brumbies beat the Force 27-11 in round one, but the Western Australians come to Canberra with a slight air of the unknown after a few recent signings.
The Super Rugby AU club recruited former national lock Sitaleki Timani and English back Jordan Olowofela in that time. Wallaby Izack Rodda has also joined Tim Sampson's outfit, although he won't be available for selection until July.
Lloyd, who spent two years with the Force, expected the round-six clash to be a tough challenge, saying the Western Australians had built with each performance.
"They've been getting better week on week. We had them over there in round one at [Perth Oval] in what was a very emotional occasion for them as well," Lloyd said.
"I spent a few years at the Force myself, the crowd would have done wonders for them. We weathered the storm on that day.
"They've gotten a lot better since, they're stringing some good performances together. We're under no illusions that Friday night will be a real challenge."
The Brumbies enter the match off a much-needed bye, lock Darcy Swain saying the team felt refreshed and ready to rip in for the second half of the season.
"We've been working on ourselves, really. We know when we're playing our best game no one can stay with us," Swain said. "It's about focusing on our game."
SUPER RUGBY AU
Round six - Friday: ACT Brumbies v Western Force at Canberra Stadium, 7.45pm.
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