Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has confirmed code-hopper Israel Folau is 'on the radar' for selection against the British and Irish Lions but says returning veteran George Smith won't be considered.
Folau is just two games into his Super Rugby career with the Waratahs after switching from AFL but has already done enough to grab Deans' attention.
"'He's not that far away," Deans said when asked of Folau's prospects for the first Lions Test in Brisbane on June 22.
"He's on the radar and he's not the only one, so the points of difference will be small and it might come down to how we piece the group together, but his entry into union has been very good.
"It's not easy to go from AFL to union, so he's shown enough really encouraging signs and we'll just keep watching."
Deans expressed his preference for players with previous Test experience against the Lions but admits Folau's big-game appearances in rugby league could help the 23-year-old at the selection table.
"He's a bloke who is not going to be daunted by the occasion," Deans said.
"It's very much around habits in many ways, whether he can master those instinctive responses fast enough but 15 rounds of Super Rugby is a good apprenticeship.
"We've seen Israel, he's gone through a rapid learning curve in two weeks … he's shown he has the capacity to learn and he's clearly got some skills that are of value.
"The tough area for Israel is the contact area and that's one he'll have to master and master quickly, but he's smart and he'll get that done."
Meanwhile, Deans put an end to speculation Smith could add to his 110 Wallabies caps in the June-July series.
The 32-year-old has signed a three-month deal with the Brumbies that expires at the start of June when he is required to report back for pre-season training with his Japanese club Suntory.
Smith has publicly stated he would consider an offer if approached by Deans to play but the coach made his position clear on Thursday.
"It's great to see a bloke like that come back and that'll be superb for the Brumbies group to have the opportunity to prepare and play alongside him," he said.
"It's obviously a short-term contract so there's no point in second guessing, he's not a possibility for us right now.
"It's good for the Brumbies but we've got some very good (openside flankers) playing here already."
Pressed on whether he'd consider Smith if the Wallabies' injury curse returns, the coach replied: "Well hopefully we won't need to, but right now it's not an option ... I'd rather chase realities."