In just over a year, Pat McCabe has experienced the most extraordinary of rises - from a test blow-in to someone considered a future Wallabies captain.
So highly regarded is McCabe within the Wallabies hierarchy that the Brumbies centre has been included this season in the Test team's five-man leadership group, alongside James Horwill, David Pocock, Will Genia and James O'Connor.
After only 14 tests, the first against Italy in Florence off the bench at the end of 2010, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has become an admirer of McCabe's tough character, common sense and willingness to do anything for the national cause.
His personable demeanour and strong communication skills convinced Deans at the start of the year that even though he has had only one full season with the national team he was ready for greater responsibility.
The 24-year-old McCabe joins O'Connor as a new member of the leadership group, who meet regularly with the Wallabies coaching and managerial staff to discuss team strategy, planning and off-field logistics.
According to Wallabies insiders, McCabe has excelled in this position, with a similar promotion occurring at the Brumbies this season, where, working in tandem with captain Ben Mowen and the coaching team, led by Jake White.
McCabe is heavily involved in the Brumbies backline strategies, which will be important this week with the Australian conference leaders heading to Perth for what looms as an ambush match against the Western Force on Saturday night.
McCabe won Deans over during last year's World Cup. After being used before the tournament as a battering ram at inside-centre for several tests, where he more often than not topped the tackle count, McCabe's tournament appeared over early on when he damaged his shoulder.
Even though he was in abject pain, McCabe, who could have easily been sent home, persevered, buoyed by the fact the Wallabies selectors were happy for him to stay in New Zealand because of the slight hope he would be available for the final matches of the tournament.
He did come back, and in the last few weeks, despite his shoulder being clearly well short of 100 per cent, kept putting in.
McCabe was without doubt Australia's most courageous World Cup player.
He has also had to ignore the concerns of numerous observers who looked upon him as being too one-dimensional and limited.
But after another consistent test series against Wales, where in last weekend's match in Sydney he had to be virtually forced off the field to get his broken nose attended to, the number of doubters is diminishing quickly.
There are also some within the Wallabies who believe that the nightmare of Newcastle when they were embarrassed by Scotland 9-6 may not have occurred if McCabe had started and not been picked on the bench.
He does exactly what Deans wants - fearlessly attacking the gain line with ball in hand and aggressively tackling anyone who comes into his zone.
And through time, McCabe is developing a strong midfield test combination with Waratahs outside-centre Rob Horne.
Deans is aware of the importance of a consistent, confident centre pairing, knowing that a time when the Wallabies were at their most successful was when Tim Horan and Jason Little played alongside each other week in, week out.
Powerful teams often revolve around consistent selections and settled midfield combinations.
McCabe can boost his leadership credentials even further this weekend.
The Brumbies must keep winning to ensure a finals spot, but the Force match will be an emotional affair, as it will be Nathan Sharpe's farewell game in Perth.
The Force will be primed, and it will be important that McCabe keeps the youngsters around him focused, because at this time of the year any loss can be fatal.
- Sydney Morning Herald