Crusaders flanker Pete Samu has hailed his time in New Zealand as being the biggest factor in getting him ready for the Wallabies.
Samu arrived in Wallabies camp this week after a much-publicised tug-of-war between New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia over his services, which reached its resolution when the two unions came to an agreement over his contract on Sunday.
After beginning his career in Randwick, Samu earned a chance to play for Tasman in the 2014 ITM Cup, leading to a shot with the Crusaders' development side and eventually Super Rugby footy in 2016.
The 26-year-old hopes to make his test debut against Ireland this month but admits that he wouldn't even be with the Wallabies if not for the experience he gained across the ditch.
"When I was playing at Randwick I didn't really have much knowledge of the game and being over in New Zealand has really helped me out with that," Samu told rugby.com.au.
"It's helped me understand the game more and helped me understand how I can be a lot more effective around the park - things like that."
Samu credits the development of his best attributes - his set piece and defensive work - to the experience he gained in New Zealand.
"Definitely being at Randwick - my lineout, scrum and defence wasn't really one of my main focuses.
"I just got better at it over there and I definitely think being over there has really helped my game.
"It's probably the biggest reason that I've been able to come back home."
Having signed with the Brumbies for the 2019 Super Rugby season, Samu says he will miss his time at the Crusaders but is looking forward to the next chapter of his career.
"It's going to be quite tough to leave the Crusaders with what they've done for me and the way they've been going but I'm pretty excited for that fresh challenge
"When I made the decision to go over there, I never thought I'd be back and be back here as part of the Wallabies squad. Things have turned out different and I'm here now and I'm excited.
"If I'm picked to start or I'm on the bench, I just have to back myself and be ready to go.
I'll just try and get through this week and whatever happens, I'll be doing it at 100 per cent."