McCalman re-signs with Wallabies and ARU
Australian Rugby has received a boost in the lead-up to Saturday night’s second Test between the Wallabies and Wales, with injured Test forward Ben McCalman re-signing for another year.
The hard-nosed 24-year-old, who has appeared for his country on 21 occasions, made his debut during the Tri Nations win over South Africa at Brisbane in 2010.
He had played his first match for the Western Force in Super Rugby earlier the same year.
Hailing from Warren in country NSW near Dubbo, McCalman has been a constant in the Test side since making his debut, making nine appearances in his first Test season, and 12 (out of the 14 matches played by the Wallabies) last year.
Although he has been used primarily as a No.8 in the Test side; such is McCalman’s versatility, he has also appeared at both open and blindside flank for the Wallabies, and has been employed in the second row a number of times by the Force.
The Sydney University product first made his mark as an Australian Sevens representative in the 2008/09 Sevens World Series.
McCalman’s importance to the Wallabies set up was highlighted again this year when he was included in the initial training squad for the June Tests despite nursing a nerve injury in his left shoulder.
Subsequent examinations have also revealed a small fracture in the shoulder, with the timeline for McCalman’s return to play set at six to eight weeks.
The Wallabies medical team are confident McCalman will be fit and available for the opening match of the inaugural Rugby Championship, which also doubles as the first Bledisloe Cup Test of the year when the Wallabies tackle the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on August 18.
Signing on with both Australian Rugby and the Force for another year means McCalman will be available for next year’s much anticipated tour by the British and Irish Lions, who will reappear in Australia for the first time in 12 years.
“Playing against the Lions is definitely a goal,” McCalman says.
“Continuing with the Wallabies was a big motivation to stay in Australia.
“I’ve already been lucky enough to enjoy some special moments in the gold jersey. Hopefully there are more to come.”
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said he was delighted McCalman has recommitted.
“Ben’s record speaks for itself. He’s totally committed in every game he plays, never shirks any responsibility and is a bloke his teammates know that they can always rely on,” Deans said.
“He might not be perceived as a flashy player but Ben gets the job done. We’ve asked a lot of him at times but he has never let Australia or the gold jersey down.”© AAP 2013
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