Wallabies prospect Lachie Lonergan has his eyes locked on "a very famous away victory" as the re-signed ACT Brumbies hooker looks to make amends for Super Rugby heartbreak.
Lonergan has signed a one-year contract extension which will keep the Canberra junior in Brumbies colours until the end of the 2022 season.
The 21-year-old hooker emerged as a potential Wallabies bolter "with immediate potential" when he was named in Dave Rennie's 40-man squad for a camp last month.
Now Lonergan is determined to build on his first Brumbies start as he eyes their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman opener against the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.
"It's unreal, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. This is home for me. I dreamt of being here and playing footy here since I was a little kid," Lonergan said.
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"To be able to do it here for another year, it's exciting. I wasn't interested, I just love being here. I never had any interest going anywhere else.
"Brumbies is home for me and I'm just excited to stay here for another year."
Lonergan made his first Super Rugby start in the Australian final against the Queensland Reds last week and hardly seemed daunted by the occasion.
So much so former Brumbies and Wallabies veteran Ben Alexander thought he was one of the best on ground, while assistant coach Laurie Fisher has lauded him as a quality local with a bright future.
So too has Brumbies mentor Dan McKellar, who may have once raised a few eyebrows when he said Lonergan almost broke into the club's 23 for round one this year.
But the performances that followed suggest that should have been anything but a surprise.
"His development over the past two years has been fantastic. He has always been a natural footballer," Fisher said.
"His physical development, his understanding of system and how to play with other guys has really come on. You could see on Saturday night in a Super Rugby AU grand final how good a player he is.
"He's a natural footballer so his instincts are superb. You don't have to teach him that.
"It's really just about his communication, his ability to work with guys inside and outside of him, and his physical development.
You could see in a grand final how good a player he is. He's a natural footballer so his instincts are superb.Laurie Fisher on Lachie Lonergan
"You know when you put him out there, he will instinctively know what to do."
The Canberra Times revealed last week the Brumbies were on the verge of locking in Lonergan, with Connal McInerney and Nick Frost likely to follow for 2022 and beyond.
Now the trio will join the Brumbies on the flight to New Zealand on Thursday, with McInerney's looming return from a broken fibula bolstering the club's stocks at hooker.
The Brumbies arrive in Christchurch as rank outsiders against Super Rugby Aotearoa's champions, who won the final three editions of the globetrotting Super Rugby competition from 2017 to 2019, before claiming the past two domestic titles in New Zealand.
"It's what we want. It's going to be a tough game, but if we go over there and win that, it would be a very famous away victory," Lonergan said.
"Obviously it's not the result we wanted on the weekend but you've got to park that and move on. We've got an exciting five weeks coming up against New Zealand teams. We feel like we've got a lot to prove."
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN ROUND ONE
Saturday: Canterbury Crusaders v ACT Brumbies at Christchurch Stadium, 5.05pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport.
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