Australia prop Tom Robertson cannot wait for Saturday’s Rugby Championship opener against New Zealand after being named in the starting XV for just the third time.
Scott Sio’s shoulder injury means the Waratahs’ man steps into the breach as the Wallabies look to overcome the double defending champions in Sydney.
This weekend’s clash will be Robertson’s 22nd international appearance, all but two of which – against Fiji and Scotland in June 2017 – have come off the bench.
A Bledisloe Cup meeting with Australia’s great rivals is an occasion of far greater magnitude, however, and Robertson is raring to go.
“It’s a dream come true. I used to watch the Bledisloes growing up since I was a kid and to actually be starting in one is a dream come true and I just want Saturday to come quicker,” he said.
“I think their [New Zealand’s] starters are still the same and they’re the best team in the world. Their scrum’s always going to be pretty dominant and they’re going to try and use their scrum as a good platform for their backs.
“Saying that, we’re just trying to focus on our scrum because we’ve got different combinations and obviously with Tatafu [Polota-Nau] coming back and Keps [Sekope Kepu] – I’ve scrummaged with him quite a bit.
“But at the same time, we haven’t scrummaged as a front row so we’ll be focusing on getting our stuff right and hopefully that will show on Saturday.”
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Head coach Michael Cheika explained that Robertson’s call-up was just reward for a sustained period of hard graft.
“Obviously he is only young and coming on the scene, but I think he’s had his best year in the pro game by far,” Cheika said.
“His season with the Waratahs was excellent, in particular in relation to his work ethic. He worked really hard to get in a position early. He’s always had a good set-piece and he’s going to build on that I suppose.
“He’s got a slightly different body shape to the rest of our props and he’s a different profile in that way. But once he started changing his habits around his work ethic then everything started changing for him. Now I think he’s enjoying his game as well.”
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