Wallabies lock Kane Douglas is treating every week like a Test match as he tries to work his way back into a regular matchday spot.
Douglas reunited with World Cup locking partner Rob Simmons against France last weekend, delivering one of his best performances of the year in the 25-23 win.
The 27-year-old has had an up and down year, working his way back from a serious knee injury to return for the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship, entering an intense selection battle.
Douglas said the only way he could push his credentials was by taking the team’s notoriously brutal ‘Test match Tuesday’ literally.
“You've got to have your training days as your Test matches, you've got to go really hard on a Tuesday and that's your game for the week if you're not getting picked,” he said.
“A heap of the boys do it like that. We call it Test match Tuesday because we do get stuck into each other. That's how you do it. - Kane Douglas
“You try and refine those skills - Mick Byrne has really been great for most of the boys with all the different skills he's trying to add and technical things.
“That's all you can do until you get back out on the park. And then you try and play your own game but also add those little things to your game when you get out there.”
The fierce rivalry in the second row hasn’t created any frosty relationship, Douglas said, rather the department was building off one another each week.
“I think in the past I've found sometimes you don't have the best relationships with all the locks, but we all bounce off each other and it's a good mix in there,” he said.
“There has been Rory and Adam coming up this year. It's really good that we're all fighting each day at training.”
It’s not just the second row where competition has developed this year, with plenty of contenders for backline spots as well.
Kyle Godwin made the most of his debut opportunity in Paris at inside centre, putting some pressure on Reece Hodge, though the incumbent is seemingly likely to return to his spot in Dublin.
Hodge, who has started in seven of his eight Tests in a meteoric rise this year, said sitting in the stands was a ‘foreign’ experience for him but was glad the Wallabies' depth shone through.
“Obviously being in the stands is a bit foreign and you really want to get out there and do what you can for the team to get over the line,” he said.
“I was really keen to play but obviously it was an opportunity for Kyle and I think that's the way everyone saw it in the squad. - Reece Hodge
“We've got great depth and when people get their opportunity they're going to make the most of it. I think we saw with a lot of guys in the team that they made the most of their opportunities and put a good performance out there against France.
“I wouldn't really call it resting. There's depth in positions and we've got the ability to do that. It was just an opportunity for Kyle I think, that's how we saw it.”
Australia will take on Ireland at Aviva Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 4:30am AEDT, LIVE on SBS and Foxtel's beIn Sports (Foxtel Channel 515).