Rookie Reds backrower Adam Korczyk is making the most of his chance to learn off his high-profile teammates.
Korczyk started in the first two games before being shifted to the bench in the Reds’ loss to the Crusaders.
Those starts came as a shock to the 22-year-old, coming off an unlucky 2016, where an ACL injury ended his year, into a team stacked with backrow stars.
“Obviously I’d heard all the (talk that) George Smith was coming and Scotty Higgers (Higginbotham) was coming as well and I was coming back from an ACL injury as well,” he said.
“I was thinking I’ll train as hard as I can and when I was coming from my rehab I was always trying to train as hard as I can because I knew it was going to be a tough competition to get a starting spot in front of other players of that calibre.”
Whatever his role in the side, the flanker said he was just relishing his chance to learn off veteran international players.
“Having George Smith and Scott and even Hendrik (Tui) all those guys in my position, it’s good competition for me,” he said.
“I can learn off them, they’re quite seasoned veterans and international players.
“For me, it’s just learning off them and then taking little cues off them around training and being I’ve only played four games in my Super Rugby career so I’m learning as much as I can off them.”
The Reds’ tour of South Africa is not Korczyk’s first at Super Rugby level and he said they would be prepared for a tough challenge against last year’s finalists, the Lions.
“They were in the final last year so we can’t underestimate anything because they’re going to be playing in front of a home crowd, which is going to give them a boost,” he said.
“I think for us it’s to get our preparation right and get rid of as much fatigue as we can and be ready to face up against the Lions.”
The Reds take on the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday morning, kicking off at 2:15am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.