Hudson Creighton is a nervous watcher, so waiting for his name to be called when the game is hanging in the balance is never really easy.
So the versatile ACT Brumbies back is perfecting the art of staying in the moment, breaking down plays and momentum shifts while trying to avoid playing the game in his head before he leaves the bench.
Creighton has played 47 minutes in five appearances for the Brumbies during their Super Rugby Pacific campaign. It seems an small number at first glance but coach Dan McKellar believes it is anything but.
McKellar is banking on finishers like Creighton to add a fresh spark to the Brumbies from the moment they step onto the park, because "these games are going to be won and lost in that last 20 minutes".
So Creighton is determined to make an impact off the bench as the Brumbies head to New Zealand for the first time this year to face the Waikato Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday night.
MORE RUGBY UNION
"It can get down to the 75th minute or something and you might not be on, but you know you might be needed. You've got to stay in that mentally focused area and know at any point you might be going on," Creighton said.
"We know when we get on there we have to be that point of difference. It's going to be a really tight game and Kiwi teams are going to take it to the 80th minute or beyond, so we know we've got to bring that point of difference and bring that polish to the back end of the game.
"They're always a lot stronger at home in front of their home crowd. We've adapted our game really well and we're showing really good signs moving forward. We can't get bored of what we're doing, it's shown to be working. We've just got to keep at it really.
"Little errors or moments when concentration lapses [at training], the boys are right onto it. They know that little opportunity there for a Kiwi team can lead to points or a real momentum swing."
The second-placed Brumbies head to Hamilton this week for a top-four showdown. A win keeps the visitors in touch with the Auckland Blues at the top of the table.
But winger Tom Wright knows that is easier said than done after last year's trip to Hamilton ended in a 40-19 drubbing at the hands of the Chiefs, but there is a sense the Brumbies are far better prepared this time around.
The Brumbies were walking wounded during the Trans-Tasman element last year. This time they're getting troops back at the right time. Cadeyrn Neville, Noah Lolesio and Tom Banks have all returned to the fold over the past fortnight.
Now captain Allan Alaalatoa is pushing to return from a neck injury while lock Nick Frost [knee] could be back in the frame to face the Chiefs.
"There's definitely a burning sensation there for a few of us. We went over there last year and got touched up a little bit. Definitely looking to make amends on what happened last year over there," Wright said.
"Injuries come and go and they probably came at a pretty poor time last year when we needed a few blokes. Looking at the rehab list at the moment, we're pretty fortunate.
"We've got a number of guys, if they aren't already back, they're pretty close. Obviously it would be awesome if we could get our big skip [Alaalatoa] back on the field, he's buzzing around at the moment so fingers crossed he's back.
"We are starting to click, we've had that spine and that familiarity within the group has been pretty good."
SUPER RUGBY PACIFIC ROUND 12
Saturday: Waikato Chiefs v ACT Brumbies at Waikato Stadium, 5.05pm (AEST). Broadcast live on Stan Sport.
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