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'Shocked' Kiwi on verge of making Wallabies switch after All Black dream

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Former Crusaders academy product and current Waratahs flanker Charlie Gamble is on the verge of completing an eligibility switch to represent Australia after a call-up to the Wallabies training camp on the Gold Coast.

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The 26-year-old flanker had a breakout Super Rugby Pacific campaign last season which caught the eye of Dave Rennie and his Wallabies coaching staff and the Canterbury-raised forward is eligible to debut in April this year.

His journey to become a potential Wallabies debutant in 2023 has ‘shocked’ him after receiving a phone call from the Wallabies head coach to join the squad for a World Cup training camp.

“I come from a rugby-mad Canterbury, Crusaders, All Black supporting family,” Gamble told 1News Sport.

“The dream for me, like any Kiwi kid, was to wear ABs colours.”

“I was out in the city with my missus and had a missed call from [Wallabies head coach] Dave [Rennie].

“Not gonna lie – I was freaking out.”

A student of St Bede’s in Christchurch, Gamble was on the New Zealand rugby pathway through the Crusaders academy before making a move to Australia five years ago, a bold switch which he since has reflected on.

“Looking back, I could’ve been more mature, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t reflect on that but at the end of the day,” he said.

“That can’t be changed, and I’ve always wanted to reach the highest level possible and I am proud to be doing that with the Wallabies – one of the best teams in the world.”

He debuted for the Waratahs in 2021 after being picked up from local club rugby with Petersham and has been a key player in the club’s rebuild under head coach Darren Coleman.

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The Tahs announced their arrival as a Super Rugby contender once again with a gritty upset win over the Crusaders last season at Leichhardt Oval.

After his breakout second season, the flanker revealed he contacted Rennie to see where he stood with the national side.

“I had a phone call with Dave at the end of last year, I just wanted some clarity if they [Rugby Australia] were even interested,” said Gamble.

Brumbies scrumhalf Ryan Lonergan is the only other two uncapped players in the extended squad, while Gamble will have to battle off with a loose forward contingent that includes Michael Hooper, Pete Samu, Langi Gleeson, Ned Hanigan, Rob Leota, Rob Valetini, Jed Holloway, and reds pair Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson.

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