Wallabies captain Will Skelton is hoping his build on his Test career beyond 2023 after injury hampered his World Cup campaign.
Skelton missed the losses against Fiji and Wales, picking up a calf complaint.
The La Rochelle powerhouse is likely to be fit next week, although it looks destined to be to no avail as the Wallabies hang onto their World Cup hopes by a thread.
“It’s been tough for me personally not being able to be a part of the team on the field,” Skelton said.
“We’ve been training hard in the background and working our arses off to get back for the quarter-final and I think we’re on track for that.”
The 31-year-old has no intention of hanging up the boots after establishing himself as a key leader under Jones, captaining against France and Georgia.
“I think playing for your country is a privilege and an honour and something I never want to take for granted," he said.
“It’s been an experience here at the World Cup for me not being able to play and getting injured, but I’ve definitely taken a lot of positives out of this and learnt a lot about myself and about this team."
If the Wallabies manage to qualify for the quarter-finals, needing Portugal to win by eight or more and deny Fiji a bonus point, Skelton's inclusion would be a massive boost, potentially joined by Taniela Tupou.
Wallabies coach Eddie Jones was proud of Skelton's development both on and off the field, confident this is just the beginning.
“I think Will has his best Rugby ahead of him. I’ve got no doubt about it, particularly at the international level,” Jones reiterated
“I think he’s just starting and been so impressed with his humility, hard work and the manner he leads the team. There’s no doubt there was a hole left when we lost Will from a leadership and play point of view.
“I couldn’t speak more highly of him.”