Old habits die hard for David Pocock, even down to his choice of headgear.
The Wallabies flanker was remarkable in his comeback to international rugby, dominating against world No.2 Ireland in the wake of his 12-month sabbatical spent mainly in Zimbabwe far away from any football fields.
He scored the match-sealing try and proved a constant pilfering threat around the breakdown in Saturday night's 18-9 first Test win at Suncorp Stadium.
Pocock's continued success at the breakdown was all the more creditable given tweaks to the laws have made it more difficult to legally pilfer.
He said he'd never allowed himself to question whether he could be as influential as he used to be when he came back.
"You don't think too much about that; you've got to back yourself and if you're doing all your prep with the physical and mental stuff you'll get back to your best," he said.
"You're always chasing improving and pushing the boundaries ... there's always that little bit more you're trying to get out of yourself."
The only thing that seemed to bother Pocock on Saturday night was his headgear, which kept falling off.
Blaming worn out velcro for the issue, the 30-year-old said it was in worse condition than an older one of his which a woman produced in the stands while he signed autographs post-game.
"I actually swapped her out, so I'll wear that headgear in Melbourne (in the second Test)," Pocock revealed on Sunday.
"I've only got a couple. I custom order them."
Pocock was uniquely granted temporary leave from Wallabies and Super Rugby duties to pursue passions outside of rugby, only returning for the Brumbies this season.
He spent much of his time in Africa focusing on animal conservation, agriculture and embracing his Zimbabwean roots, getting so far off the grid at times that he couldn't even watch the Wallabies play.
"There was a fair bit going on over there; it was certainly a break but you thought about it (rugby) from time to time," he said.
"You think about what an incredible opportunity it is to represent Australia; as an immigrant I'm so grateful of the opportunities I've had.
"To pull on the green and gold ... get out there, be at your best and know you're also representing so many people in Zimbabwe that have been part of the journey."