Melbourne Rebels coach Dave Wessels has cranked up the pressure on Quade Cooper's potential successor going into his side''s first round Super Rugby game at home to Queensland next week.
Cooper has been left out of the Reds squad by new coach Brad Thorn, effectively leaving the mercurial pivot without a Super Rugby gig heading into the new season.
Journeyman Jono Lance started at five-eighth in the Reds trial against the Fiji Warriors on Thursday and 19-year-old Australian under-20 representative Hamish Stewart was given a run there later in the game.
"I don't know who the Reds will play at 10 in our game, maybe someone like Hamish," Wessels said after the Rebels 47-5 loss to the NSW Waratahs in Sydney on Thursday.
'We've already seen Hamish at Super Rugby level. There will be a lot of pressure on a guy like that because Quade Cooper has been the king of Ballymore for a long time and there will be a lot of people questioning that decision.
"To come in and have to replace Quade Cooper, there's a fair bit of pressure on young shoulders there. That's Brad's call obviously.
"The question is do we want him (Cooper) in our group? I'm pretty happy with where our group is at."
Wessels started Jack Debreczeni at five-eighth against the Tahs.
Talented young utility back Jack Maddocks played there in the Rebels first trial against the Brumbies.
"I thought Jack Debreczeni played really well (against the Waratahs) and I thought Jack Maddocks did a very good job on the wing," Wessels said.
"He's a special athlete, so he can play pretty much anywhere.
"I think during the season I''d be relatively comfortable with either of them at 10."
Another option could be Wallabies utility back Reece Hodge, who started at five-eighth against Japan but has played most of his Tests on the wing and a handful in the centre.
"He (Hodge) might have to play there (at five-eighth) but primarily I think Reece is a centre," Wessels said.
The coach wasn't concerned his franchise had conceded 97 points across their two trials.
He pointed out the Rebels fielded a number of players on Thursday who either hadn't previously played for them or were returning after a while.
Wessels also emphasised Melbourne would soon regain several big names including Bill Meakes, Will Genia, Geoff Parling and Ben Daley, though winger Marika Koroibete could miss round one.
He wasn't worried about knocks to new captain and lock Adam Coleman or winger Dom Shipperley.