He feared he might be getting fired, but a curve ball proposition has given Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau an opportunity to press his claims to go to a third World Cup.
The 33-year-old has returned to his original senior representative team, the NSW Waratahs, on a short-term loan deal from English club Leicester Tigers.
Polota-Nau, who is expected to come off the bench for Saturday’s Super Rugby clash with the Reds at the SCG on Saturday, isn’t sure how long he will stay with the Tahs, but is grateful for the opportunity to play more minutes.
He was sidelined for several weeks by a medial ligament knee injury before he returned just over a week ago.
The Wallabies veteran expected to play out the season for Leicester before he was contacted by Tigers’ coach Geordan Murphy last week.
“I got the call from Geordy asking to state a proposition towards me and to be honest I thought ‘This will be interesting, am I fired?'” Polota-Nau said.
“I just saw a great opportunity, one to get some more game time, but two, hopefully stake claims towards the World Cup.
“This was just a curve ball but definitely one I’d catch and run with.”
Polota-Nau’s return is a boost for the Tahs, who have another Test rake, Tolu Latu, serving a six-week suspension.
Polota-Nau admitted to struggling last year when he shuttled between the two hemispheres, juggling club and national commitments.
“It was a bit of a struggle last season in terms of not knowing how to prepare accordingly but, in saying that, now that I’ve got that under my belt, definitely taking steps closer to getting that sorted,” he said.
For most of his 13-year test career Polota-Nau vied with Stephen Moore for the Wallabies No.2 jersey but now has a new generation of rivals for that starting spot.
“There’s actually plenty of good depth here in Australia to cover hooker, so I’m giving it one last roll of the dice,” he said.
Rugby Explorer with Jim Hamilton:
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