Under coach Michael Cheika’s World Cup experiment of moving parts, every squad member is a chance to start for the Wallabies – except, you’d imagine, Tatafu Polota-Nau.
Which is no reflection on the rugged Waratah’s value to the team, but simply a fact of life when you’re stuck behind the skipper.
However, Polota-Nau, who has been elevated to the starting lineup as part of Cheika’s mass changes for Sunday’s clash with Uruguay in Birmingham, doesn’t see it quite like that.
He sees everyone as equals and fully intends to push Stephen Moore every day at training in a bid to put pressure on the starting hooking role – for the betterment of the team.
“There’s never a case of him being the Wallaby captain and me being the backup – were still competing for that spot,” he said.
“It just puts a bit more pressure on him to get his set piece right as well.
“At the end of the day were still competing for a spot, whether or not hes the captain, we both prepare equally as fierce.
“Because thats what we need in terms of surviving the final minutes of each half.
“That’s the great thing about Steve and I, we both know whoever steps up in the (No.2) position will do the job just as good.”
Australia’s set piece fell to pieces in their opening fixture against Fiji, losing three lineouts in a row at one point.
One of the turnovers came as a result of a miscommunication – with the proposed call misheard over the raucous crowd at Millennium Stadium.
Polota-Nau said he expected a similarly noisy reception in Birmingham on Sunday – cheekily pointing to the indifferent form of the local Premier League side Aston Villa, who have won just once in their six games to start the season.
“I reckon it will be just as loud at Villa – I’m sure a lot of Birmingham locals are more than keen to get some rugby into them,” he said.
“Because they keep missing out with Aston Villa not playing so well. They might see some action.”