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'I thought Cork was a small place but the rugby world is even smaller'

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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Two weeks on from the amazing sight of Oli Hoskins stepping off the Wallabies bench with twelve minutes to go versus England at Twickenham, London Irish boss Declan Kidney is still beaming about how the uncapped tighthead became an emergency call-up, going from club training that Monday to make a Test debut five days later.      

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The 28-year-old had been playing the fantasy-fiction game Dungeons and Dragons with some friends on November 7 when he noticed he had two missed called from a random number. It was Petrus du Plessis, the Wallabies scrum coach and his old Irish teammate, wondering if his pal Hoskins was fit. 

The next day, Hoskins was training away in the gym at Irish when he was told at 11am he had officially been called up by Australia. 

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Guess the celebrity Rose | Karen Carney | England Rugby
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Guess the celebrity Rose | Karen Carney | England Rugby

Twenty minutes later he was bounding in the doors of the Wallabies team hotel at The Lensbury. That was Monday and three days later he was named on the replacements bench versus England as concussions had ruled out tightheads Taniela Tupou and Allan Alaalatoa. Two days after that he was replacing James Slipper in front of 82,000 people at Twickenham. Wow!

Two weeks on from that incredible moment, Hoskins will be back in the vicinity of Twickenham this Saturday, packing down for London Irish as they take on Harlequins in a Premiership match at The Stoop.  

“I thought Cork was a small place but the rugby world is even smaller,” quipped Irish boss Kidney to RugbyPass when asked for his thoughts on how the son of English parents, who grew up in Perth dreaming of representing the Wallabies, finally lived that dream in the most amazingly spontaneously way. “Petrus who was working here, he was tighthead here with Oli and then Petrus started his scrum coaching here as player-coach.

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“He then headed off to Glasgow, did a little bit there and now he is in with the Aussies as scrum coach and Petrus went the back door route to ask Oli was he fit. So the official enquiries came in after that. It was all done very quickly.

“He enjoyed it. There is enough stuff on YouTube and everything about what it meant to him [Hoskins shed tears at the Wallabies team announcement]. He will probably get ribbed about that at some stage but it was just one of those really good sporting moments.  

“He has been training well since he came in. It was a story that shows all schoolboys that if you stick at it you never know what is going to come your way and he really enjoyed his time in camp. It was odds-on that if the lads passed their HIA test that they were going to come back in for that last Test (against Wales) but he really enjoyed his experience and he will be all the richer for it. He is going to be up against it the weekend with Joe Marler, so another big task ahead of him on Saturday.”

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