A Wallabies jersey could keep Billy Meakes in Australia, with the Melbourne centre saying playing for his country is still the most important thing in his rugby career.
The off-contract Meakes has been linked with a move to the USA but the test hopes of the 29-year-old have been reignited by the new Australian coaching regime under Dave Rennie.
Meakes has been on the Wallabies fringes since his return to Australia from England in 2017 and says pulling on the national team shirt still drives him.
“It’s hand on heart the most important thing to me,” Meakes said.
“All I’ve ever wanted to do was play for the Wallabies and that’s still all I want to do so it’s definitely at the forefront of my goals and something I’m working towards.”
Meakes has been impressed by the communication from the Rennie team, and in particular new attack coach Scott Wisemantel, who has been in regular contact and provided detailed feedback on his game.
“It’s probably the most communication I’ve had in the past years in terms of detailed stuff around my game,” Meakes said.
“The feedback’s been extremely detailed and given me lots of stuff to work on whilst also just siphoning through my game and telling me what I’m good at and maybe what I could be working on.”
With Rennie declaring he will pick his first Wallabies team on form, each round of the domestic Super Rugby AU will be like a selection trial.
The Waratahs and Reds open the rebooted competition on Friday night in Brisbane, followed by the Rebels and Brumbies on Saturday evening in Canberra. The Western Force have a first-round bye.
Meakes feels there could be some test bolters from the shortened domestic competition.
“I guarantee there would be players that some people wouldn’t think would be close to national selection who will play well in this block and they’re just going to boom and off the back of some good form get selected,” he said.
“It’s quite an amazing opportunity we have to put your hand up for selection.
“It’s almost like a trial every week – you’re playing against your direct competition for jerseys at the national level, so a strong run of form can definitely put you in contention.”
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