Thirteen minutes of Super Rugby was the realisation of a near two-decade old dream for Brumbies debutant Jordan Jackson-Hope.
It didn’t take him long to make an impact at Super Rugby, setting up a try with one of his first touches in the Brumbies’ win over the Rebels on Friday night.
It was a whirlwind week for the teen, who was ruled out of the Australia U20s second Test against New Zealand just six days before his Super Rugby debut.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was four years old,” he said.
“I got ruled out of the last Test match of Aussie U20s and I was pretty gutted about that because I felt like I could’ve played...I was so proud of the boys but it was hard to watch from the sidelines.
“Then Bernie (Stephen Larkham) called me and said I might need to cover if there’s any injuries so I just tried to wrap my head around that.”
A local Canberra boy, Jackson-Hope has been working towards playing for the Brumbies since as long as he can remember.
In an injury-riddled season, the Brumbies have called on a number of inexperienced players to fill their backline, with James Dargaville another who has had to make a step up.
Being able to train alongside Christian Lealiifano and Matt Toomua, under the guidance of Larkham, was invaluable.
“They’ve (Lealiifano and Toomua) just taken me under their wing in a massive way, just really helped me out and improving my game and obviously the likes of Bernie as well,” he said.
“He’s one of the best flyhalves that’s ever played the game and being a head coach couldn’t ask for a better mentor.”
Brumbies co-captain Lealiifano had plenty of praise for Jackson-Hope, with “scary” potential.
“Obviously he’s an inside back so I get to work with him quite closely and just seeing him develop is fantastic,” he said.
“That’s why tonight was really special to see him alongside me and I just have full confidence in the work that he’s done.
“He’s super fit, he’s tough and really skilful and that’s only going to get better which is the scary thing as well.”
It might be a while before he runs out for the Brumbies again, though, joining the Australia U20s camp this week ahead of June’s World Cup.
The Brumbies have a bye this weekend, before a match against the Force, and the U20s leave for England on May 31, another challenge that he is eagerly anticipating.
“If that opportunity comes I’ll face it but there’s a lot of f good players to come back so I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” he said.
“I’ve got the U20s world cup to look forward to, it’s exciting for me and my rugby so I’ll just take every opportunity as it comes, but I can’t thank Bernie enough for putting this faith in me.”