Wellington-born Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese ready for All Blacks if required

Jordan Uelese, left, catches a ball at a lineout at a Rebels training session.
QUINN ROONEY/GETTY IMAGES

Jordan Uelese, left, catches a ball at a lineout at a Rebels training session.

Third-string Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese has played just 28 minutes of Super Rugby in his life but believes he is mentally and physically ready to be thrown into the cauldron of a Bledisloe Cup match.  

Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau are fighting it out for a Wallabies starting hooker spot ahead of the clash with New Zealand in Sydney on August 19. 

As always though, an injury could throw a cat amongst the pigeons and if that were to be the case, Wellington-born Uelese, a Melbourne Rebels and Australian under-20s hooker, says he has no hesitation stepping up to the plate. 

"I'm preparing each day as if I'm going to get the call-up to play against the All Blacks and if the opportunity does arise I'm going to be ready," Uelese said. "Cheik's got his belief in me. I've made my Super Rugby debut at a young age and Wallabies is a different level but in the end I feel very comfortable here.

READ MORE:
ARU moves to cut Force 
Ioane a threat to Wallabies 
Black Ferns open with big win
Kerevi hails Beale's rugby IQ
If Parliament were a rugby team

"At a young age I've matured as a player, mentally and physically. I feel right at home here and the rugby field is something I've been doing since I was two years old. As a young guy you do get a bit nervous and I think I've passed that nervous phase." 

Uelese's promotion to a 34-man extended Wallabies squad has come about as a result of a neck injury to Tolu Latu, who featured in four tests on last year's spring tour. 

Like most rugby fans, Uelese was shocked at his inclusion, particularly given he has only run out for the Rebels on three occasions and chalked up only 12 minutes of Super Rugby game-time since round one in February. 

"In Newcastle [at Wallabies camp] it was like my first day at school but I'm getting used to it now," Uelese said. "A lot of confidence does come with a bit of pressure but the Wallabies coaching staff have really made me feel a bit more comfortable.

​"Being with the likes of Tatafu and Stephen Moore, they have really helped me develop my game and give me a bit more confidence and give me some pointers.

Ad Feedback

"You can get a bit nervous and what not but being around those two guys who have been at this level for the past 10-plus years, they've obviously made my transition from Super Rugby to the Wallabies a bit easier." 

Uelese was born in Wellington before moving with his family to Melbourne when he was 11 years old. 

Despite admiring a number of All Blacks growing up, he says he always had to the desire to one day don a gold jersey.  

"I have a lot of cousins from Australia and they would come to New Zealand and they were patriotic about their country and it made me want to play for them also," he said.

Uelese is one of five Rebels players who are waiting with interest to find out whether the Australian Rugby Union will have the legal right to cut the Western Force from Super Rugby next year. 

"It has been a bit annoying throughout the whole year having to think about these things but if we were to lose a team it would be pretty sad," Uelese said. "It's not at the forefront of my mind. I've just got to focus on how we can beat the All Blacks." 

 - Sydney Morning Herald

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback