The concept of nous in rugby is difficult to quantify.
There are few players with more on the line this Super Rugby season than Brumbies halfback Joe Powell.
Powell has been the starting halfback in Canberra since 2017 and has earned four Wallabies caps in that time.
The 25-year old was one of the last players cut from Australia’s World Cup squad that made the quarter-finals in Japan last year.
Powell was pipped to the second halfback spot by England-based Nic White – who joins the Brumbies next season.
It means in 2020 Powell, who is off-contract this year, is not only playing for his Wallabies future but his club starting spot too.
But if Powell lights up Super Rugby then the Wallabies No. 9 spot is there for the taking after Will Genia left for Japanese rugby.
It all adds up to a high-stakes season for the surfer-looking university student.
The other Wallaby contenders at halfback are Waratahs Jake Gordon and emerging Queensland Reds talent Tate McDermot.
Powell had a solid game against Fijian international halfback Frank Lomani as the Brumbies thrashed the Melbourne Rebels in a trial on Thursday.
He emphasised his focus was playing consistently for the Brumbies before thinking about international honours.
“First I need to be playing good footy for the Brumbies and making sure I’m the starting halfback,” Powell told AAP.
“If I can play consistently good footy then hopefully higher honours will come and I’ll force my way into the Wallabies.”
Brumbies coach Dan McKellar promoted Powell to vice-captain this season and backed him to have the best season of his career.
“He’s been outstanding in the pre-season,” McKellar said.
“I’ve often spoken to Joey about driving standards of himself and others and demanding more of himself and others and he’s starting to do that now.
“I thought his kicking game (against the Rebels) was excellent. His pass and speed at the breakdown was good and he took his opportunities when they came.
“But the best part about his game is what he does in defence for us, he directs the big units around the ruck and he was good there again.”