HUNTER Wildfires back-rower Henry Stowers could make the giant leap from club rugby to lining up for the ACT Brumbies against the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby AU final at a packed Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Stowers has been training with the Brumbies but playing for the Wildfires for the past three weeks.
However, with Pete Samu (knee) in doubt, Stowers is being considered for a place on the bench.
The Brumbies will wait until the 11th hour to make a call on Samu and fellow Wallabies James Slipper [left knee], hooker Folau Fainga'a, with Dan McKellar to name his squad on Wednesday.
The injured trio missed training in wet conditions in Canberra on Tuesday. Fainga'a watched from the sideline while Samu was inside club headquarters wearing a leg brace.
Rob Valetini, who has signed a two-year contract extension with the Brumbies and Rugby Australia looms as the man most likely to wear the No. 8 jersey should Samu be ruled out.
The other back-row contenders are inexperienced.
Rory Scott is in line to play a final in his third start, while Luke Reimer made his debut off the bench in last week's qualifying final.
Jahrome Brown's season is over while Tom Cusack has been battling injury, leaving Will Miller and mid-season recruit Stowers as the other options.
Stowers made seven Super Rugby appearances for the Western Force before joining the Wildfires this season.
"I've got that belief in everyone. We've got a few young blokes coming through the ranks, Henry as well who is here," Valetini said. "I definitely have 100 per cent belief in them, they can step up and fill the void if anyone is out.
"I've been talking to [Stowers] for a bit. He said [he has had] a lot of information just coming in, if he has to play.
"Playing in front of 40 or 50,000, I think that's enough motivation to go out there and rip in.
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"There will be more Reds fans than Brumbies fans, and we're the only people that can bring energy on the field because of the people against us. It's definitely an exciting challenge for us and I think the boys are up for it, for me myself, I'm keen for it."
Brumbies forwards coach Laurie Fisher says Slipper is desperate to play despite reaggravating a knee injury.
"I think he's quite positive. Obviously we're taking all precautions, but he's keen to do whatever he can to play," Fisher said. "A guy with that experience and that quality, I'd suggest Dan will give him as late as possible to make that decision."
The potential absence of Fainga'a would open the door for Lachie Lonergan to start at hooker, while Connal McInerney has recovered from a broken fibula.
"[McInerney] trained fully [on Tuesday] so he is definitely available for selection. Obviously he'd be a little underdone but he would do a full training week and be available selection," Fisher said.
"Everybody has just got to do their job. We play to a system, and in that system you get your eyes up and then help each other out."
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