An upbeat Tomas Cubelli wants to make a comeback before the end of the Super Rugby season and hopes he hasn't played his last game for the ACT Brumbies.
In his first interview since suffering a major knee injury, Cubelli detailed his hopes of being able to play again in four months and be a part of a potential finals campaign.
The Argentina international also backed 11-game youngster Joe Powell to step up in his absence when the Super Rugby season begins next weekend.
The Brumbies are on the verge of adding another scrumhalf to their roster, with an announcement expected in the coming days on who will help replace Cubelli.
The 27-year-old, who is off-contract at the end of the year, was in agony after damaging his patellar tendon in a trial match two weeks ago and needed surgery to re-attach it to his kneecap.
But he hopes to be back in selection contention for the last two games of the regular season.
"I'm trying to stay positive and the doctors have been good, it's not as bad as it could have been," Cubelli said.
"My motivation is to be able to play this year, but I won't do it unless I'm ready. The knee has to be ready to go.
"The best case scenario would be to be picked to play for Argentina in the June international window, but I don't know.
"But I really want to rip in with the Brumbies and really help by offering something to the team in any position that I can for the last couple of games."
Cubelli will delay contract talks with the Brumbies to focus on his recovery and he will return to Argentina next week to continue his rehabilitation.
He will be in a knee brace for at least the next month with medical staff slowly increasing his range of movement.
The crafty 58-Test scrumhalf was one of the Brumbies' best players last year and was considered a key cog in a new-look back line this season.
The Brumbies are keen to keep Cubelli on their books next year and beyond, but his future will remain undecided as the Brumbies search for a new coach and Cubelli targets a playing comeback.
"I haven't really thought about next year ... now I'm just focused on my rehab and making sure that I can come back bigger and better," Cubelli said.
"It all happened very fast at the start of the year so I haven't thought about any of that. I will let things settle down and then have time to think.
"I want to play for the Brumbies again ... and that is one of my goals for this year."
Cubelli's injury means he will miss a historic match when the Brumbies play against the Argentina Jaguares in his hometown of Buenos Aires in May.
Cubelli had already organised for the Brumbies to train at his former club base and he invited the entire squad to his family home to host a dinner.
He hopes to still make the trip to be a tour guide for his Brumbies teammates at a time when he will also be ramping up his training.
While he will miss the Brumbies-Jaguares clash, Cubelli will be back in the international arena when the Wallabies play against Argentina in Canberra in September.
The ACT government is set to announce details of the Rugby Championship Test at an event on Monday, with Cubelli a major drawcard for international rugby's return to Canberra Stadium.
The Brumbies start their Super Rugby season against the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch next weekend, with Powell set to get first crack in Cubelli's No. 9 jersey.
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has been searching for an experienced scrumhalf to add to his roster to help Powell and 18-year-old Ryan Lonergan.
"I'm really, really looking forward to watching Joe play, he's been working hard the past year and I think he is ready to handle it," Cubelli said.
"I thought I was going to miss the entire season when the injury happened, so I'm happy now that I may have that opportunity to play again this year."
SUPER RUGBY ROUND ONE
February 25: Canterbury Crusaders v ACT Brumbies at Christchurch, 5.35pm.
* The Brumbies will host a fan day at the University of Canberra on Saturday at 10.30am to give supporters a chance to meet the players.
The story Tomas Cubelli desperate to play role in ACT Brumbies Super Rugby season first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.