He was part of Michael Cheika’s Wallabies camp but Curtis Rona thinks he’s only just getting started in rugby, after a ‘sub-par’ start to 2017.
Rona has had some enforced layoffs with a concussion and has shifted between the centres and outside backs, but showed enough to be invited to the April camp of 48.
“That was a pretty big surprise but it was a good camp and I learned so much over those couple of days and it was a great experience to be in that environment,” he said from Durban.
Cheika has praised the former NRL star through the year but Rona is his own harshest critic.
“I’ve been below par I believe by my standards,” he said.
“I’m still learning the game, still learning the game, picking up new things.
“I think if we’re still in rugby next year, we’re going to have a lot stronger team, I’ll have more experience under my belt as will the other members of my team.
“We’re building towards something good.”
Rona’s lessons in rugby could last just one season if the ARU opts to axe the Force.
Rona said he had been in touch with his manager about a plan B for 2018, after making the move to the Force to be closer to his family.
The speedster has previously said he would consider a return to the NRL, and the Canterbury Bulldogs, but those are still fallback options in his mind.
“I’ve spoken briefly to my management and family about getting a Plan B in place but I haven’t thought too much about it."
“We’ve spoken about the possibilities but at this stage I'm fully focused on playing some consistent footy for the Force and trying to get a few wins.”
He faced some hostile crowds in his former life as an NRL star, but Rona said nothing could prepare him for the one-sided support he expects in Durban on Saturday night, when the Force take on the Sharks.
“I’ve played in some hostile places in Sydney but this is a new eye-opener,” he said.
“When you come overseas and we go and play against the clubs here, you get to see how passionate they are as well.
“It’s going to be a loud crowd and they definitely won’t be cheering for us.”
Some of the travelling group faced some real sharks this week in Durban, going diving but Rona wasn’t one of them, so Saturday’s group might just be the most ferocious he has met.
The Force take on the Sharks on Saturday night, kicking off at 11:05pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS.