Folau Fainga'a says the ACT Brumbies are their own biggest threat leading into Super Rugby AU's toughest road trip as he looks to force his way back into Wallabies contention.
The Brumbies hooker was overlooked by Wallabies coach Dave Rennie in a 40-man squad for a camp at Sanctuary Cove this month, but the door remains open for outsiders to pull on a gold jersey this year.
Rennie opted for four new hookers including Brumbies young gun Lachlan Lonergan. Fainga'a will face one of the men in his way in Queensland Reds rake Alex Mafi in a top of the table clash in Brisbane this week.
Fainga'a is refusing to drop his head after missing the squad, adamant he can force his way back into contention for Tests at the end of the Super Rugby campaign having put in an impressive shift last week.
"First off you congratulate the boys who made it, you can't really sook about that. For me, it's just [a reminder] to keep my head down and keep working hard," Fainga'a said.
"Hopefully my rugby can do the talking for me. Obviously I've got a few things I can work on as well, but hopefully the footy can do the talking and I won't let that stuff get into my head."
The Brumbies return to training on Monday morning after being granted a weekend off in the wake of their narrow win over the NSW Waratahs in Sydney last Friday night.
Fainga'a concedes the reigning champions were well below their best and they will need to lift their intensity if they are to have any hope of claiming four competition points in Brisbane.
A trip to the sunshine state is followed by an away game in Melbourne, with Fainga'a adding the Brumbies now face their biggest test of the season in a bid to lock up top spot.
"It's one thing saying it but it's another thing doing it. As Super Rugby champions, you've got a target on your back every week. The biggest threat for us is ourselves," Fainga'a said.
"In the second half [against the Waratahs], we were on the back foot the whole time. We did that to ourselves, it was just ill-discipline.
"We've got to get away from footy now and turn up on Monday ready to flick the switch and prepare for what's going to be a tough two weeks ahead of us.
"I just think physical preparation is a big thing, and mental preparation as well. We've got an eight-day turnaround now and it's important for the boys to get away from footy and come back with a mindset ready to go on Monday.
"These next two weeks are going to be our hardest two weeks away as well, so we've got to get our heads around that."
SUPER RUGBY AU ROUND EIGHT
Saturday: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Lang Park, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport and Gem.
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