He refuses to talk up his chances but Dane Haylett-Petty has done his hopes of taking over the Wallabies fullback jersey no harm with a starring performance in Melbourne’s Super Rugby win over Queensland.
Brumbies fullback Tom Banks has also put his hand up while Kurtley Beale has impressed since taking over from Folau.
The 29-year-old showed poise under pressure to steer the Rebels to a tricky 30-24 win at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Haylett-Petty ran a game high 126m, which was 49m more than any other player, lead the tackle busts with five and also scored a try.
Melbourne coach Dave Wessels said Haylett-Petty was incredibly valuable for the Rebels.
“He’s got a real presence with the team,” Wessels said.
“He doesn’t say a lot but the team gravitate towards him and one of the reasons we’ve handled pressure situations better is because Dane is there and he navigates the team through it and everyone follows him.”
Asked about his ambitions of playing test fullback rather than on the wing as he adds to his 29 test caps, Haylett-Petty said he’d love to be anywhere in the team, although admitted he enjoyed being at the back.
“I do enjoy playing at fullback and getting a little bit more involved – it’s hard to stay out of the game,” the 29-year-old said.
Haylett-Petty missed a month of matches through a toe injury, only returning for the past two games.
He said the upside of being on the bench was that he felt mentally and physically fresh.
“It was disappointing missing those weeks but the benefit is that I was able to come back when everyone else was a little bit tired,” he said.
Wessels said Cooper was feeling fine post-match but would “go on the concussion pathway” which could put him in doubt for next Friday’s home match against the Bulls.
The Short Ball:
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