Star players back on deck for Wallabies as Springboks loom
A confident Andrew Kellaway admits he’ll be envious of the punters drinking beers on the Adelaide Oval hill on Saturday but says he’s ready to put on a show for them.
The Wallabies back injured his hamstring seven weeks ago, costing him a start in the hotly-contested No 15 jersey in the recent series against England.
Jordan Petaia – filling the role of injured fullback Tom Banks – lasted just minutes in the position in the second Test against England before being concussed, and has since returned on the wing with Tom Wright preferred at fullback.
Petaia and Wright had days to forget in a record 48-17 mauling from Argentina in their most recent outing, leaving the position up for grabs in the side’s Rugby Championship return to home soil.
It begins in Adelaide on Saturday against world champions South Africa, who have lost their past seven Tests in Australia in a drought dating back to 2013.
Kellaway was coy about his positional movements, saying he’s been training at the Wallabies’ Gold Coast base as a winger and fullback, but made it clear he’s ready to roll.
“Yeah [the timing of the injury] was a tough pill to swallow; I was looking forward to playing fullback and it doesn’t come by often in this team with the depth we have there now,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“It was a slow process, at least it felt like that for me, but I ripped into it and here we are hopefully – touch wood – no complications. I’m ready to go and if I get the call-up, how good.
“I’m pumped. Adelaide Oval, what a place; would love to be on the hill having a beer … (it’s) one of the great cricket venues.”
Prop Allan Alaalatoa will also return after missing the last Test for personal reasons.
He said there had been “an edge” to Australia’s training this week after the poor showing in Argentina that came a week after an impressive first-up win there.
“The boys have been pretty gutted after that last game,” he said. “There were some tough conversations yesterday in review and it’s all for us to get better this weekend. We had a sour taste in our mouth.”
Alaalatoa said the set piece battle remained a focal point of the Springboks’ plan.
“All the games that I’ve been part of (against South Africa), we say the forward pack has to take it to them,” he said.
“It’s something they’ll try and go to a lot on Saturday.”
– Murray Wenzel
Join free and tell us what you really think!Join Free