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'I was too light': Former Wallaby whiz kid opens up on early international career

By Sam Smith
Jack Maddocks. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Former Wallaby and Australian rugby prodigy Jack Maddocks has opened up about his short international career after announcing a new deal with Top 14 club Pau that will see him stay in France.

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At one point in time the now 25-year-old was one of the brightest talents and hottest properties in Australian rugby, coming through the U20 programme in 2016 and landing with the Melbourne Rebels in 2017.

After one full season of Super Rugby in the Victorian capital, Maddocks was fast-tracked into Michael Cheika’s Wallabies squad in 2018 and he made his international debut at just 21-years-old.

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He debuted off the bench against the All Blacks in Sydney and scored his first Test try in the 38-13 loss and went on to feature in seven Tests that season.

But as the World Cup year came around in 2019, Maddocks found himself out of the Wallabies squad and never made it back, despite a move to the Waratahs for two seasons to attempt to kickstart his career in 2020 and 2021.

He packed his bags and headed to France to take up a deal with Pau last year, where he just announced a two-year extension to French publication RugbyRama.

“When I started my professional career, I had a rapid progression,” Maddocks told RugbyRama.

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“I was selected to play for Australia when I was only 21. Looking back, I think it was too early because I was too light.

“It was difficult for me because I was not happy with my performance.,I was playing badly. Now I’m very happy, especially after the season I’ve just had.

“I’m happy every time I go on the field, whether it’s in a match, in training, or in the weight room.”

The fullback is now locked into playing in Top 14 until 2025, making it difficult to add to his seven Test caps or feature at next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

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Under the Giteau law only players with 60-plus caps could play for the Wallabies while based offshore, but the rules have now changed to allow for three overseas-based players.

Maddocks could potentially get a recall, but would have to beat out a number of overseas based stars for one of the three selections.

“It’s hard to think about it because of the selection rules. The Wallabies can only bring in three players who don’t play in Australia,” he said.

“But, I am proud to be Australian so if someone asked me that would be a pleasure. Now, I don’t think that will happen.

“The best thing for me was to stay in Pau, to be totally focused on the Top 14.”

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