Brumbies prop Ruan Smith thinks his spell at Japan's Toyota Verblitz could prove valuable when he embarks on his 2016 Super Rugby campaign.
Smith said the different brand of rugby played in Japan has added an extra dimension to his game and that is something he hopes to build on when he competes in the Southern Hemisphere's premier domestic competition.
"It's changed my perspective on the way I should play," Smith told the Brumbies website this week.
"The way the game is played in Japan is obviously a different style of rugby which I think will help me a lot with my approach to Super Rugby."
One of the most critical aspects perhaps is the element of pace which features prominently in Japanese rugby. That in itself, changes a player's outlook and approach to the game completely.
"The pace of the game is fairly high which when I first got there was a shock to the system. I think that will help me coming in to Super Rugby," added Smith.
However, there is also the mental element and that is where Smith thinks he has experienced the most growth thus far.
"One of the reasons I went to Japan was to mentally refresh a bit,” said Smith.
"Obviously it wasn't long, but after three years of doing the same things, doing something different is nice. Having different coaching techniques and different approaches to things was really refreshing.
"It also made me a lot more excited to come back here to the Brumbies."
Finally and perhaps most critically, playing in Japan has meant that the Brumbies forward is more match fit than he has been in previous seasons, adding that this experience had possibly been more valuable than regular pre-season training.
“I've been lucky to be in a situation where I've missed all the running in pre-season,” Smith explained.
"Playing more rugby is what we like to do so I'm happy with that. I think some the boys are a bit jealous but I'm not complaining.”