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What young Brumbies loosie needs to become an '80-Test Wallaby’

By Finn Morton
Charlie Cale of the Brumbies scores a try during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and NSW Waratahs at GIO Stadium, on April 06, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Brumbies loose forward Charlie Cale has been highlighted as a potential Wallabies bolter after a series of stunning performances in the No. 8 jersey with Australia’s form side in Super Rugby Pacific.

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Two-time Rugby World Cup winner Tim Horan believes Cale will receive a call-up to a Wallabies squad under new coach Joe Schmidt after an impressive start to the season with the high-flying Brumbies.

Cale, 23, has scored four tries in five matches this season. The youngster has started every match that he’s played in which includes the big win over the Waratahs in Canberra last weekend.

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The Number Eight played eighty minutes and scored a try as the Brums ran away with a dominant 40-16 win over their arch-rivals. Cale’s purple patch of form has continued which has led some former Wallabies to sing his praises.

Not only has Wallaby great Tim Horan backed Cale to be included in Joe Schmidt’s plans, but Cameron Shepherd and Justin Harrison have also spoken about the exciting talent who could go on to become an “80-Test Wallaby.”

“Absolutely,” Cameron Shepherd said on Stan Sports’ Rugby Heaven. “ I think we’ve spoken about it a lot, just how big is this initial Wallabies quad going to be when we get to the June Tests?

“You talk about mentoring… he’s a perfect example of something that needs the likes of a (Rob) Valetini, maybe even a former player connected to the group to help guide him through.

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“He’s still got a lot to do. He’s great in a lot of parts of the game but there’s polish that needs to be added.

“Of course, you never know who someone’s going to be until they get an opportunity to play Test match football.

“I think we need to get around him. He’s obviously got a lot of talent but he needs the right support to make sure we turn him into an 80-Test Wallaby and not a 10-Test Wallaby.”

There are a number of genuine bolters who could go on to debut for the Wallabies this year. From the Brumbies, winger Corey Toole is another uncapped talent who appears destined for higher honours against Wales this year.

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Queensland’s Tom Lynagh, Josh Flook and Seru Uru have also been impressive, as have the likes of Carlo Tizzano, Max Jorgensen and Ryan Lonergan.

Echoing Shepherd’s comments, Rugby World Cup 2003 finalist Justin Harrison explained why it’s so important for younger players to have more experienced campaigners around to help them ease into Test rugby.

“We’re very good at producing athletes. We know that rugby produces a somatotype now and they’re athletes,” Harrison added.

“What we also need is this thing called ‘rugby nous and rugby IP.’ You only get that… is if you’re in your changeroom and you can absorb… observable action and conversation and intelligence from players that have done two or three things ahead of you.

“Those sort of things happen when you interact with that past and present player.”

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