Brumbies fullback Aidan Toua is past all the ‘awkwardness’ of playing his former teammates but he hopes Canberra turns on a frosty reception for the Reds this weekend.
Toua faced off against the Reds for the first time in preseason, with the Brumbies triumphing at Ballymore, but this is his first clash against Queensland in Super Rugby proper.
“We played them in the trial so got that awkwardness out of the way but still got really good mates down there and hopefully it's minus degrees on Friday night, treat the boys to a nice welcome,” he said.
Toua’s time at the Reds was decimated by injury, though he said those days were well behind him now.
“Unfortunately that did dominate my time at the Reds but that's a world away now and I'm really happy where I am now,” he said.
“I've still got really fond memories from Ballymore and some really good mates there so it'll be a good clash on Friday night.”
The Brumbies backline will have two major boosts this weekend, with Joe Tomane and Matt Toomua set to return from knee injuries, though David Pocock (eye socket) will be a noticeable absentee in the forwards.
“It's always nice when you welcome back those world class players and Matty had a good return with the Wallabies on the weekend so he'll get a bit of confidence from that,” Toua said.
“Joey's looking pretty good for around Friday night so we've obviously lost some key figures in the back row but we've got good depth to be alright on Friday.”
While there will be some combinations reuniting after a long absence this weekend, Toua was confident the Brumbies would gel.
Aside from Toomua’s return, Brumbies and Argentina scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli has only just arrived back in Australia after lining up for the Pumas against Italy.
“Eighty minutes is a long time and as the game goes on on Friday I'm sure Christian and Matty have played together for countless amount of years,” he said.
“It will be good to see how Cubelli recovers from his jet lag just in time for Friday but we've had 12-13 games under our belt and as long as you’re fresh mentally I think all those things come back pretty quickly.