With all four Wallabies locks from last year’s Rugby World Cup set to be playing their club rugby overseas as of 2021, the depth of the position has been questioned constantly throughout Super Rugby AU.
But national coach Dave Rennie may have found himself an answer.
Standing at 203cm and by playing the game at a level simply beyond his years, Rebels lock Trevor Hosea can bring some much-needed youth to help reinvigorate the Wallabies second row.
Hosea have become a staple of the Rebels match day side since making his debut off the bench in the opening round of Super Rugby AU against the Brumbies. He has a tackle accuracy of 93 percent and has already become a leader for the Rebels at the set piece.
The 20-year-old was recently rewarded for his form throughout his breakout rookie campaign, named in Rennie’s players of national interest (PONI) list last month. Hosea said that it was a proud moment for both him and his family, but admitted that he wants to improve his work rate and lineout timing as he looks to officially take that next step.
“Just having eyes on me, it’s a big achievement for me getting selected in the PONI squad but there’s obviously heaps of work to do,” Hosea told RugbyPass.
“I’ve just got to keep working hard because I know there are eyes on me. I’ve just got to show what I’ve got.
“It would mean the world to me [to play for the Wallabies], it was a dream growing up. I’ve been working hard this year, been working hard the last few years to try and get a game under my belt and it’s all working out so far.”
Even though he was born in AFL-mad Victoria, Hosea always had eyes for the 15-man code. He said that he’s been “drawn to rugby” because of his father, having first played the sport at six-years old.
But Hosea made a big decision in 2016 which showed just how serious he was about rugby.
The up-and-comer decided to move out of home and board at the prestigious Brisbane GPS school, Brisbane Boys’ College, for his last two years of high school. Hosea felt that at the time, it was a move that he needed to make in pursuit of his rugby dream.
“The pathways down in Melbourne were still growing and they’re getting better and better each year, but definitely the way I saw it was that it was a great opportunity to get up there and play some of the best schoolboy footy that there is to offer.
“It was definitely a big step for me going up to Brisbane, a big decision for my family, but I reckon it really paid off.”
But the need to move to a more rugby dominated state brings with it an underdog mentality that Hosea and a few of the other Rebels players have adopted.
The ‘Burn Boyz’ are the small group of Victorian-born players in the squad who have paved the way for the next generation of the states rugby talent to play at that level. Hosea, other PONI selections in Pone Fa’amausili and Jordan Uelese, as well as Rob Leota, make up the small group of players inspiring the next wave of Victorian talent.
As he discussed, it’s a mantle that Hosea and his teammates take pride in representing every time they take the field.
“I’ve always been an underdog and that’s probably what us boys are about, and I guess the mentality has come from that. It’s just trying to put on for the State, for our city, and make something of ourselves and just show everyone that there is an opportunity there.
“I guess it is a responsibility seeing that in a sense, we are role models. Just to be a role model and to show younger players that there is an opportunity and just to keep chasing the dream.”
Hosea made his Super debut in July, three years after he signed a development contract with the Rebels.
He came off the bench in the second half against the Brumbies, but felt that the support of his teammates, including some invaluable words from Wallaby Reece Hodge, helped him ease into Super Rugby.
Ex-All Blacks boss Steve Hansen has revealed the best athlete he ever coached in his illustrious rugby career spanning 24 years.https://t.co/kXXGY8NBHc
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 4, 2020
“When it came to game time, I had a few butterflies in the stomach but I just thought to myself, ‘just do your thing, do your role, do you and you and you’ll be sweet.’
“Coming onto the field, I had a few of the boys come around me as soon as I got on.
“One of the big things for me was when Reece Hodge came up to me after one of our tries and said, ‘You belong here bro.’ That was a real boost for me and it got me up and kept me up; was really comfortable on the field.”
Now seven games into his career, Hosea is just one of many of last year’s Junior Wallabies to have graduated from that level and into Super Rugby – and to have truly made the most of their opportunities.
But with the under-20s side recording a best ever finish at a Junior World Cup, Hosea is taking plenty of positives out of his time with the side as he looks to help usher in what may just be a golden generation of Australian rugby talent.
“There’s a lot of young fellas coming through and I just think it’s that hunger that’s been shown throughout the comp, the hunger to want to represent at higher honours. That’s a real drive for us young fellas coming through and we see the opportunity at the end, it’s there to take, so we’re all fighting for a spot.
“I think it was one of the best performances from an under-20s team in a while. A lot of us young fellas coming through took a lot of confidence out of that World Cup, and it just shows how much it meant to us and how much we’re willing to work to get to that next level.”
Much like their opponents this weekend, the Rebels have been on the road throughout their entire Super Rugby AU campaign. With Victoria having been in lockdown since July, Hosea and his side will be out to “lift the spirits” of their fans with what would be a historic victory on Saturday.
The Rebels face the Force in the final round of Super Rugby AU, where they can secure a maiden playoff berth with a victory by four or more points.
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