Waratahs coach Michael Cheika has backed code hopper Israel Folau to handle everything the Reds throw at him when he makes his Super Rugby debut at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
Wily Reds coach Ewen McKenzie has publicly declared his intention to target the former NRL superstar's lack of rugby experience this weekend.
But Cheika, who admits he's been surprised at how quickly Folau has adapted to his third professional code, is confident the 23-year-old is up to the challenge.
"The amount of times I've tried to target blokes and it's been a waste of time at the end of the day because you never get to what you want to do," Cheika said when asked if it is a mistake to target the former Queensland Origin star.
"I know Ewen is a very clever coach so if one man can find a way it'll be him.
"So we've just got to be ready to back him up if they put him under pressure and we'll obviously back him to get out of any holes he finds himself in.
"(He has surprised me) a little bit. Positionally he's worked himself out pretty well and he's looking for work. He's got good numbers in the games too so I've been really happy with the way he's gone so far."
Pressed on whether Folau, who spent the last two seasons playing for AFL club GWS Giants, will feature in the starting line-up, a coy Cheika replied: "I'd say so yeah. I wouldn't be trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes by saying he wasn't going to be in contention to start the game.
"It just depends on our availability and combinations are important for me. If he does play, who I put him with at the back will be the key issue."
Folau played at full-back in all three pre-season trials but is also an option on the wing.
With outside centre Rob Horne sidelined with a hamstring injury, Adam Ashley-Cooper is likely to wear the number 13 jumper, opening the door for Folau to get first crack at full-back.
Meanwhile, injured back-up flyhalf Bernard Foley (ankle) ran freely at Monday's training session and is in contention to start at flyhalf against the Reds.
First-choice playmaker Berrick Barnes ran briefly on his heavily strapped knee but appears at long odds to play against his home state.
If Foley and Barnes are unable to travel to Brisbane, rookie Ben Volavola will wear the number 10 jersey in front of a massive crowd at Suncorp Stadium.
"He's going to have to be, because he'll be up there in the jersey," Cheika said when asked if the 22-year-old is up to the challenge.
"One thing we've worked hard on is preparing everyone, it's not the name it's the jersey.
"That can be considered a bit corny sometimes but the reality is this is how it is.
"The 10 jersey has to play a certain role in the team and he's got his own talents outside of that, so if Ben does start in the 10 jersey I have no doubt he will do a great job."