Queensland Reds coach Nick Stiles won't be gifting games to rising star Andrew Ready next year, challenging the Test-hooker-in-waiting to play better than incoming veteran Stephen Moore.
Ready will get his first taste of international rugby on Friday morning AEDT, albeit as part of a Wallabies XV in a non-cap match against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux.
It's the start of a crucial 12 months for Ready, who emerged as one of Australia's brightest young prospects after a breakout Super Rugby season, but needs as many minutes as possible to sustain his development.
However, with Moore returning to Ballymore in 2017 there are no guarantees and Stiles insists Ready will only play if he deserves his spot.
"I'm not thinking about balancing out. I want the best footballers earning the right to play each week," Stiles said as the Reds returned for pre-season training on Monday.
"He's got to be better. Andrew's a player I've got immense respect for.
"I've worked very closely with him for the last three years, and was so pleased to see him step up and play the way he did in Super Rugby this year.
"But there's areas of his game he needs to work on as well and I've been really clear with him about that, and having Stephen Moore here probably makes him work a bit harder on those areas than he might have done if he wasn't here."
Stiles pointed to Moore's involvement in Australia's 25-23 win over France at the weekend, a match that many other senior Wallabies sat out, as proof of what Ready will have to contend with next season.
"Stephen Moore probably could have stepped down and rested from the weekend, to freshen up for the Irish game," he said.
"It shows his competitiveness that even though he wasn't starting, he still wanted to be a part of that Test side.
"It's going to be the same when he comes back here. It creates competition, we want that through the whole team."
Ready is one of four Reds players in the squad that will take on the French Barbarians, along with Nick Frisby, Izaia Perese and prop Sef Fa'agase.