NSW lock Sitaleki Timani isn’t someone you want on your bad side and, unfortunately for the Brumbies, the Super Rugby man mountain has a long memory.
Timani was with the Brumbies in 2010 and barely had a look in, however the Waratahs have since found the 203cm and 120kg giant a more-than-handy weapon.
Last year in the corresponding match in Canberra, Timani responded to his snubbing by scoring the final-minute match-winner against the Brumbies.
And this time around, the Waratahs will try to take advantage of that burning fire once more, elevating the 25-year-old to the starting-line-up for the first time this season.
Timani said he’s still driven by a desire to prove his former side wrong for not playing him, and is fired up for Saturday night’s crucial Australian Conference derby which the Waratahs are viewing as a must-win for their finals hopes.
“Coming off 2010, I didn’t play any games at the Brumbies and I came down here and got a chance to go back and play against them and it gave me more motivation to try and prove something,” Timani said.
“I’m still trying to prove myself … to every team.
“It’s always good to play against your old mates in Canberra and it’s a big challenge to try and push in and beat them.
“I was just lucky to be there at the right time to get us the win last year. It was a pick and go behind the ruck and I didn’t really see the line. I just put my arm out hoping I was at the line.”
Timani made his international debut for Australia against Samoa last year, and says he’s determined to attract the attention of selectors again.
The Tongan-born forward says he’s focused on making his starting berth at the Waratahs permanent, and he’ll let the rest take care of itself.
“I’m not really thinking about the Wallabies now. I’m just working step by step,” he said.
“My first step now is to try and regain the starting position and the next step is to go from there and play well and try and get the selectors interested in me.”
The game-breaking Timani moves into the starting 15 at the expense of Dean Mumm, who moves back to the reserves bench.
Timani’s promotion is the only change to the Waratahs’ starting XV that lost 37-33 to the Crusaders on Sunday, with blindside flanker Dave Dennis retaining the No.6 jumper from Rocky Elsom.