They're at opposite ends of their rugby careers but emerging centre Len Ikitau has provided the blueprint for the Wallabies to reign under comeback king Quade Cooper.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie shocked the rugby public when he handed Cooper a Test recall and the 33-year-old playmaker responded with a measured performance against South Africa.
Now he will take the reins as the Wallabies chase back-to-back wins over the reigning world champions in Brisbane on Saturday night.
Rennie points to Ikitau being drafted into Wallabies camp last year with barely a Super Rugby game to his name as proof selectors are "not scared of making courageous decisions".
Now Ikitau has held his place at outside centre in the infancy of what has the potential to be a damaging combination with Samu Kerevi at inside centre, and Cooper at flyhalf.
MORE RUGBY UNION
"They were really good last week. They managed the game well, giving Quade a heap of information there in the form of communication is pretty important," Wallabies captain Michael Hooper said.
"They've got a bit more time, a bit further away from the ruck, [and] can relay a bit of information and give Quade some pictures the South Africans will put in place. Just on that front, they're huge in allowing Quade to do what Quade can do.
"In terms of being that second or even third distributor, Lenny has got a left foot so that's helpful in terms of our exiting strategies and also clever little kicks in behind. Samu, obviously known for his ball carry but again, a good communicator and a good link player at times as well.
"That combination, if we can get that firing, which we're going to need going strong, is going to do us well."
Kerevi and Cooper have both made comebacks from Test exile this year while Sean McMahon has impressed upon his return to Wallabies camp, with Rennie not afraid to roll the dice on at the selection table.
"You look at a guy like Lenny Ikitau, when we brought him in last year he had played about 12 minutes of Super Rugby," Rennie said.
"We saw something in him, we brought him into our environment. He went back to the Brumbies and worked really hard, and now he is dominating the 13 jersey. We've got to back ourselves if we think it's the right person."
THE RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Saturday, September 18: Australia v South Africa at 5.05pm; Argentina v New Zealand at 8.05pm. Both games at Lang Park.
Wallabies squad: 1. James Slipper, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Nic White, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Samu Kerevi, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Andrew Kellaway, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Feleti Kaitu'u, 17. Angus Bell, 18. Tom Robertson, 19. Darcy Swain, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Tate McDermott, 22. Reece Hodge, 23. Jordan Petaia.
Springboks squad: 1. Trevor Nyakane, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Marvin Orie, 6. Siya Kolisi (c), 7. Franco Mostert, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 9. Faf de Klerk, 10. Handre Pollard, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 12. Damien de Allende, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 14. Sbu Nkosi, 15. Willie le Roux. Replacements: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Steven Kitshoff, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. Marco van Staden, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Jasper Wiese, 22. Herschel Jantjies, 23. Damian Willemse.
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