The NRC has been just the thing Caleb Timu needed, after a disastrous start to his rugby career.
Timu suffered a serious knee injury in his first week of training at the Reds, cutting short his 2016 season, before looking to rebound in 2017.
The Queensland Country flanker earned his Super Rugby debut this year and his reputation has been enhanced each week in the NRC.
It’s just the confidence boost the youngster needed, as Country vie for a maiden NRC title.
“I needed it,” he said.
“The NRC been awesome, it’s the chance to play with some high quality players and to get some good form together and keep learning the game at the high level.
It’s been a real positive and hopefully it can help me going further.”
Timu said coach Brad Thorn had helped give him an edge when it came to throwing his weight around.
“He's just brought a ruthless mentality to everything we do, especially defence,” he said.
“Something I needed to work on was my physicality and defence and he’s helped me get the edge there and improve.”
Country bested Fiji in a thrilling encounter a fortnight ago in Fiji and Timu said they were expecting more of the same in Toowoomba.
“They're really good with their ball carries and their offloads, that’s two of their go-tos,” he said.
“They play a lot of running rugby, which will be good for those who come out and watch us and it’ll be a good tester for us.”
Queensland Country hosts the Fijian Drua in the second NRC semi-final on Sunday November 5, kicking off at 2pm local, 3pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.