Brumbies flyer Tom Banks put his hand up to replace Wallabies fullback Israel Folau with a stunning return to form against the Lions in Super Rugby.
Banks was back to his devastating best, breaking the line with ease and scoring a try as the ACT cantered to a 31-20 victory in Canberra on Saturday.
It was a timely performance as Folau looks set to be sacked by Rugby Australia following his controversial social media post last week.
Folau listed homosexuals as one of eight groups of people for whom “Hell awaits”, and Rugby Australia have said they intend to fire the 62-Test fullback.
The NSW Waratahs superstar was sanctioned in 2017 for similar comments and intends to fight any punishment from his employers.
It’s highly unlikely Folau will be part of the Wallabies’ World Cup squad in Japan later this year and Banks has put himself in prime position to fill the void.
The 3-5 Brumbies have endured an inconsistent start but if Banks’ form continues into the second half of the Super Rugby season he could prove irresistible to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
“It’s a lot better to be making good metres and getting involved in the game so obviously I’m happy with that but it’s a team thing, on the back of team success comes personal success,” Banks told AAP.
Banks debuted and played four Tests for Australia last year but Brumbies coach Dan McKellar was quick to temper his rise into Folau’s boots.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves on the back of one pretty good performance, I just think we rush into that with individuals, not just Tom Banks but anyone,” McKellar said.
“If your preparation is good you perform well for your franchise and all those selections and outcomes will look after themselves.
“He’s got genuine speed, he’s in the game, he’ll challenge any defensive line, whether it’s Super Rugby or Test level he’s going to be someone who’s going to be in the forefront of selectors’ minds.”
If Folau’s contract is terminated, Banks will battle for the Wallabies No. 15 jersey with Reece Hodge, Dane Haylett-Petty and Jack Maddocks.