Matt To'omua was far from optimistic about his Test ambitions as he walked through the doors of ACT Brumbies headquarters last month.
To'omua was granted time away from Wallabies camp in the lead-up to the French series as he battled a neck injury.
But a Melbourne lockdown meant he couldn't return home, so where else would he go than where his Super Rugby career began more than a decade ago.
Soon enough the chance to work with Brumbies medical staff reignited his Test campaign.
"I was going into the Brumbies and taking notes for future Super games ... I took some photos," To'omua grinned.
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"One of the great things about being in Australian rugby is we do have provinces who are willing to help.
"In these weird times, I couldn't go back to Melbourne because of the lockdown at the time so I went to Canberra and the Brumbies were more than accommodating for me.
"I had the physios and the medicos there, they helped out. I came back here and they had a direct line of communication to the Brumbies physio."
COVID-19 restrictions meant To'omua was unable to rejoin Wallabies camp until he had 14 days away from NSW, so he arrived "a little bit later than I wanted to".
It hardly seemed the ideal preparation for the opening Test against France when "I didn't know I would get too many games let alone the first".
But To'omua lined up in Brisbane, outside flyhalf Noah Lolesio in their first match together. Now the pair turn their attention to game two in Melbourne on Tuesday.
"Training is great, you can learn things from training, but being out there in the heat of the battle in a Test match, you learn a lot more in terms of calling under pressure and those sorts of things," To'omua said.
"I was pretty proud of Noah, he had a slower start to the match and then he came good for us. You can't buy that experience, that is genuinely what people say when they have 30, 40, 50, 60 caps or whatever.
"Noah knows now he might not start well, but he can certainly finish a game when it's needed."
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