World Rugby has selected six Wallabies to its tournament rugby championship team, including Andrew Kellaway.
The 25-year-old winger wasn’t on Dave Rennie’s radar early in the season, but he made his way into the frame with a strong finish to his stint with the Rebels.
Now he is on the verge of making Wallabies history with a great chance to break Israel Folau’s record for most attempts in a rookie testing season.
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Folau scored 10 in his first season, while Kellaway has eight with games against Japan, Scotland, England and Wales to come.
Kellaway (seven) also circled the field as the top try scorer in the Rugby Championship with David Havili, Will Jordan, Sevu Reece and Malcolm Marx next best with three.
“Morgs (Morgan Turinui) and I joked about this in a comment the other night,” commentator Sean Maloney said on Stan Sport. Rugby Heaven.
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“If you had it in the frame to be the top try scorer in the Rugby Championship, we had it at 1000-1, 3000-1.”
Turinui added: “I’m not a gambling player, but it’s writing your own ticket … an amazing story, actually, about a mature player coming back as a full-fledged player and making every post a winner when given the chance”.
Former Australian schoolboy star Kellaway was a Wallabies tourist on the 2016 spring tour, but had to wait five years to make his test debut.
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He left the Waratahs in 2018 and spent time abroad with Northampton Saints, Counties Manukau and the NEC Green Rockets to complete his rugby education before returning home.
“Why was he not in the plans, is probably one of the things you want to know,” said the head of the Australian rugby players association, Justin Harrison, in Rugby Heaven.
“How did he get away? I mean you can’t capture everyone, but one of the things we do know is that the players are leaving, probably sooner than they should go abroad.
“Just because you’re abroad doesn’t mean you’re off the charts now, we’ve seen that too, so keeping an eye on those players is probably paramount now.”
In fact, of the six Wallabies named to the tournament team, Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi are players who have improved their games on foreign soil.
The former Test back from Turinui said that should be a real food for thought for Rugby Australia.
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“The key players on this TRC have probably made everyone rethink the high-performance plan and the path of Australian rugby,” Turinui said in Rugby Heaven.
“Cooper, (James) O’Connor back and around, Kerevi back, (Sean) McMahon, Greg Holmes and Andrew Kellaway.”
The Wallabies Spring Tour team will be named later this week.