When the Wallabies took the field against Scotland at Edinburgh in November, you could forgive new Force prop Harry Lloyd for having a divided sense of loyalty.
On the left - his old Brumbies teammates playing for the Wallabies, who he stood beside during his Super Rugby debut in 2020.
On the right - his current teammates, a Scotland side filled with stars who welcomed Lloyd with welcomed him with open arms during his short-term stint with Edinburgh.
That was the reality facing Lloyd during his ‘invaluable’ three-month stint with the Scottish giants before re-joining the Force.
With no NRC and a shortened Super Rugby season, the offer came from the United Rugby Championship club to bolster their squad before he made the move back west.
Lloyd, who holds a British passport through his father, took the opportunity with both hands and relished the experience to work under former British and Irish Lion Mike Blair.
“It was a shock to me when it came up to be honest,” Lloyd told Rugby.com.au
“I hold an English passport so Edinburgh were looking for someone to come in there just to bolster the numbers so being I had three months before I started with the Force, it was an opportunity I was in a position to take.”
Whilst he can even admit the experience watching old, current and even new teammates face-off was ‘weird’, he believes the chance to work alongside the likes of Scotland captain Hamish Watson and experience European Rugby will only make him a better player.
“It was a weird one, not going to lie,” he said and laughed.
“I get along well with the Brumbies guys in that Wallabies group so to catch up with them whilst in Scotland and see them run out against the boys was a weird experience but one that both sides of the coin would have enjoyed.
“It was good to see those boys mixing it in the internationals against some of the guys I played against in Super Rugby more regularly.
“I really enjoyed it. It’s a really different style of Rugby in a different town than what we have here. The opportunity to learn and play with some of Scotland and Europe’s best players was invaluable so there are definitely attributes there that I will be looking to bring next year.
“It’s no secret European Rugby is played a lot tighter than Super Rugby, you need to front up physically in the contact areas so that’s something I’m really looking to bring to my game.”
ONE TEAM: Sevens closer as coaching is sorted
RECOVERY: Porecki on the mend after freak injury
Lloyd returned from Scotland at the start of December, reacquainting himself with the club where he made his NRC and Global Rapid Rugby debut in 2018.
The stark improvements the side has made since his last stint was clear to see according to Lloyd, who believes the sky’s the limit for the side under Tim Sampson.
“There’s been a real step up since I was first here,” Lloyd believes.
“The training environment is as competitive as I’ve ever been in. Each of the boys are really stepping up every session and pushing one another for places come round one.
“...I think we’d be lying if we said the season just gone was good enough. “There’s no hiding the fact we want to go out there and win the competition.”