The ACT Brumbies are on the cusp of locking in a trio of emerging stars as club chiefs begin scouring the player market with the long-term vision of building a Trans-Tasman dynasty.
The Canberra Times can reveal the Brumbies are on the verge of locking in Wallabies squad member Lachie Lonergan, Connal McInerney and Nick Frost for 2022 and beyond.
The news comes after Rob Valetini signed a two-year contract extension to stay with the club until the end of the 2023 World Cup.
It looms as a huge boost on the verge of the Brumbies' clash with the Queensland Reds in Saturday's Super Rugby AU decider.
Brumbies chief executive Phil Thomson hopes to have a handful of new contracts locked in before the club begins its Trans-Tasman quest in Christchurch next week.
MORE RUGBY UNION
"There are plenty of chats going on at the moment with a bit of movement. Rob has been a big focus of ours, to get his contract signed," Thomson said.
"There's a few more to come. Connal, Nick Frost, Lachie Lonergan, a few of those guys we want to lock away for now and the future. They're in the pipeline at the moment.
"As we go into the Trans-Tasman, hopefully we've got everything signed off. They're all well-progressed.
"You've always got to have an eye on the future, so we're locking guys away for not only 2022 but 2023 also.
"We're seeing what 2024 might look like too, there's hardly anyone contracted at the moment for 2024 across Australia, so we're having an eye on what that might look like down the track also.
"We've got probably about 22 guys locked in at the moment with another six or so on training contracts. We're pretty well progressed."
Frost will line up at flanker in the Brumbies' clash with the Reds as the club sets its sights on back-to-back domestic titles, while Lonergan starts at hooker.
Lonergan was included in Wallabies coach Dave Rennie's 40-man Wallabies squad last year, with the national team mentor identifying the 21-year-old as a hooker with "immediate potential" to play Test football.
Frost has widely been regarded as a player to watch for some time in Australian rugby, and has a chance to prove his versatility when he moves from lock to flanker in the decider.
McInerney's Super Rugby AU season was derailed by a broken fibula, but he too was in Rennie's sights as a player of national interest last year in a rousing endorsement of the club's hooking stocks.
SUPER RUGBY AU FINAL
Saturday: Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Lang Park, 7.45pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport and 9Gem. Tickets from Ticketek.
ACT Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Lachlan Lonergan, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Nick Frost, 7. Rory Scott, 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Nic White, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Andy Muirhead, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Folau Fainga'a, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Henry Stowers, 20. Luke Reimer, 21. Ryan Lonergan, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Mack Hansen.
Queensland Reds squad: 1. Feao Fotuaika, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Ryan Smith, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Angus Scott-Young, 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O'Connor (c), 11. Jock Campbell, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Josh Flook, 14. Jordan Petaia, 15. Bryce Hegarty. Replacements: 16. Alex Mafi, 17. Dane Zander, 18. Zane Nonggorr, 19. Seru Uru, 20. Liam Wright, 21. Kalani Thomas, 22. Isaac Henry, 23. Filipo Daugunu.
*The Brumbies are offering a package for fans including a charter flight to and from Brisbane, a ticket to the final, and one night's accommodation. Secure your seat here.
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