Eight starts into the Waratahs career of No.10 Tane Edmed it seems a little premature to be asking him about playing for the Wallabies.
But yes, that’s where we are. With James O’Connor injured, and Quade Cooper’s availability dependent on eligibility issues, Edmed has come into the reckoning as a potential Test call up this winter.
Displaying a level of assuredness we’ve seen on the field in the past seven weeks since he took over the position from good friend Ben Donaldson, Edmed wasn’t ducking the issue when asked by The Roar on a media call Wednesday.
“It’s human nature to think about that sort of stuff,” Edmed said about chatter around his Wallabies chances.
“It’s hard not to because obviously everyone wants to be in that position. I’d love to be wearing the 10 jersey for the Wallabies.
“But in saying that I’ve been trying not to think about it and focus on each week and winning games for the Tahs because as a 10 that’s our job, to manage games and get those wins.
“As much as it would be nice to be in a Wallabies jersey I’m really trying hard to focus on each week and getting better and winning games for the Tahs and that sort of stuff will look after itself.”
There will be those who say that talking about Edmed in terms of Wallabies representation at this nascent stage of his professional career is likely to put too much pressure on him.
After a few minutes with Edmed it’s clear he doesn’t see it that way. His pursuit is to be “world class”, and you don’t get that accolade if you’re not playing for your country.
The son of a Balmain rugby league hero has been prepared to show his emotion – as he did after leading the team to victory over the Crusaders – and openly discuss the challenges and work-ons he’s confronting in this breakthrough season.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is how important the basics are, especially with general play kicking,” Edmed said.
“It probably hasn’t been where I want it to be and it’s been a bit of a step up in terms of that.
In terms of my development, it’s been about building that confidence and playing the way I know I can play and the style I can play.
“I like to take on the line. The contact’s been quite physical and you need to have that confidence to take on the line. It’s that game management that I’m still learning a fair bit about at this level.
“That’s why it’s important having someone like Jake Gordon inside, we dissect our games and talk about where we could have gone better.
Those basics are so important – your pass accuracy, your kick accuracy, the comms all that stuff gets put under the microscope a little bit more, so it’s building on that and trying to get that to a world class standard.”
His Tahs teammate Charlie Gamble highlighted Edmed’s confidence and maturity after coming into the starting line up.
“He wasn’t too sure what his role was going to be in the team this year,” Gamble said on Wednesday. “Donno led the ship until he got injured but Tane’s slotted straight in and you can just tell how good a player he is.
“He guides the team around really well, he’s a natural ball player and we just feed off the back of him.”
Personable and well spoken, it’s clear Edmed is a dressingroom breath of fresh air – an embodiment of the culture change sparked by Darren Coleman.
“He’s a good bloke, everyone loves him,” says Gamble. “A good genuine person, and that goes with his rugby. We’re quite close off the field. What he does on the field is awesome. We back him , he backs himself and that‘s the main thing.”
A sign of his confidence came in the lead up to the Crusaders match. When the Kiwis decided to leave out Richie Mo’unga there would have been delight at the Tahs, but Edmed didn’t share it.
“I was disappointed when Richie wasn’t playing. It was good for our team and I understand that but it would have been really cool to run against one of the best five-eighths in the world,” said Edmed, who could find himself pitted against Beauden Barrett against the Blues this weekend.
“I’ve always looked up to Beauden Barrett when I’ve been coming through and it would be so awesome if I could come up against him, he’s one of the best in the world so it would be a really cool experience, especially at Leichhardt. Hopefully I see him on that team sheet.”
And the Blues, who might choose to rest stars with top spot locked down, can also unleash Roger Tuivasa-Sheck in Edmed’s defensive zones.
“I’ve been working with [Jason Gilmore] this week, making sure my feet and tracking is all good – and keeping in mind he’s a human as well.
“Not to read into it too much but just to be aware of his feet and his strong ball carrying.”
Edend crossed off one landmark last week when he bobbed up next to Ned Hanigan in support to finish off a second half try, nipping in ahead of Jeremy Williams to poach the five-pointer.
“I had Jeremy on my inside trying to sneak in there, but I wanted to make sure I beat him to the ball,” Edmed said.
“I nearly made it a forward pass trying to get the ball in my hands.
“It was definitely nice to cross the line for the first time and the support play stuff is something I’ve been trying to work on because that’s when you score most of your tries, in support.
“Me and Jez are close and we had a laugh about it after, that I made sure I got between him and Ned to score that try.”
The next step for Edmed is to lock down his goal kicking process. According to Rugby pass stats he is converting attempt at 81 percent with 21 from 26. You can see him chatting away to himself as he prepares to run in.
“I say quite a bit but it’s something I’d like to keep to myself what I say,” Edmed said.
“It’s not special, just some technical points that I like to focus on. On the weekend I wasn’t super happy. I’ve missed a few crucial penalties in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been working hard with Shannon Fraser trying to fix that.”
If the Tahs make a decent run over the next few weeks then the noise around Edmed and gold jerseys will only get louder.