Noah Lolesio is racing the clock and Tom Banks is missing but there's a reason the ACT Brumbies will ride a wave of confidence into a return to the scene of Super Rugby heartbreak.
Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa, Nic White, James Slipper, Folau Fainga'a and Connal McInerney could all return to face the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on Saturday night.
But a question mark remains over the fitness of five-eighth Lolesio, who missed a thrilling one-point win over the Western Force due to an ankle injury picked up against the Reds a week prior.
Lolesio's return would be a major boost for a side coming to grips with the loss of fullback Tom Banks after he suffered facial fractures following a head clash during the Force game.
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says he will give Lolesio time to prove he is ready to return as the Brumbies prepare to return to Brisbane for the first time since last year's gut-wrenching Super Rugby AU final defeat.
MORE RUGBY UNION
The Brumbies' hearts were broken by a James O'Connor try deep into injury time, before the club limped through the Trans-Tasman tournament with a battered roster.
But winger Andy Muirhead believes the Brumbies are primed to turn those results around, confident this year's version of the squad boasts better depth than it has in years gone by. That's why he says the Brumbies can rise to the task.
"You would have probably seen over the past five weeks that Dan and the coaching staff are prepared to give some guys a bit of a crack," Muirhead said.
"It's only going to do wonders, that result [against the Force] is going to do wonders for the guys that played. It gives [McKellar] a bit more confidence as well, him realising he's got a squad that he can just call upon whoever he needs and they'll get a job done.
"Obviously there were a few guys who haven't had the most minutes this season so far, so I think a lot of those guys relished the opportunity to get some minutes and they stuck their hand up for selection.
"They gave that trust to everyone in the squad that when the time comes, they're ready to go. They well and truly did that. The coaching staff would be pretty pleased with that I'd assume."
The Brumbies remain the only unbeaten team in Super Rugby after six rounds following a blistering start which includes a win over the Reds inside the past fortnight.
"When you look at the make-up of the season and the length of it, we've got a couple more games and then a bye week, and then we've got six straight to finish the season," Muirhead said.
"It's important the guys in our squad are ready to step up and perform well. It just gives us confidence that if a little bit of adversity gets put upon the squad at any point in time, we'll be able to have someone fill in and get a good performance."
SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC ROUND SEVEN
Saturday, April 2 - Queensland Reds v ACT Brumbies at Lang Park, 7.45pm. Broadcast live on Stan Sport.
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