Reds flanker Liam Gill isn’t yet sure exactly how long his French foray will last but the Queenslander is preparing for this weekend’s derby as if it is his last.
Gill is hopeful of a return to Super Rugby this weekend, after a month-long layoff, against the Waratahs, likely his last chance to face the side before heading to the Top 14.
The 23-year-old’s plans have been the subject of rife speculation in recent weeks, after news of David Pocock’s planned sabbatical.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika hinted he would try to convince Gill to cut short his time in France to return to Australia in 2017, but Gill said on Wednesday he was committed to Europe in the short-term.
“It’s all hypotheticals so I don’t really have a gauge on that (whether I’ll return),” he said.
“I had to make my decision, I made it, I’m sticking with it and now it’s time to play out the season and have one last crack for the Reds for the time being.
“So what the future holds I don’t know.
“I’m more focused on trying to play the back end of this season because I know how frustrating it is not to play.”
Gill has signed in the Top 14 for two seasons and said the prospect of playing his final interstate derby for some time was an enticing one.
“This is the biggest game (of our season so far),” he said.
“It might be the last time I get to play the Waratahs so that’s something I’m really excited about.”
Beyond his own season of lasts, something with which he isn’t overly keen to preoccupy himself, Gill said the derby could be a turning point for the Reds.
“If we can get the result which we’re after this weekend, you change the way you look at the whole setup, you change the way this year’s going.
“So we understand the importance of Sunday afternoon.”
Gill isn’t the only Reds player flying the coop at the end of the season, with veteran prop Greg Holmes heading to Exeter.
The star flanker admitted that added a little extra motivation to showpiece matches like Sunday’s.
“You’re more so just focused on winning,” he said.
“We still don’t know what it’s like to win this year so that’s mainly our goal.
“It just sweetens the deal knowing...there’s a few players leaving at the end of the year. “
Just six players - Gill, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Nick Frisby, Greg Holmes and Jake Schatz - were in the Reds match-day side when they last beat the Waratahs, in 2013, and Gill said that made them want to taste victory even more.
“(We have) a lot of young players that haven’t beaten NSW. There’s A few little things that really just add to us wanting to win,” he said.
The Reds host NSW at Suncorp Stadium on Easter Sunday, kicking off at 4:05pm AEDT.