He was cast aside by Eddie Jones after making his Wallabies debut last year, but Queensland fullback Jock Campbell has been backed by Reds coach Les Kiss to return to national honours.
The 28-year-old will play No.15 for the Reds against Japanese side Saitama Wild Knights at Ballymore on Saturday, and Kiss has backed him to again be in national selectors’ calculations after he played four Tests under former coach Dave Rennie.
Campbell came off the bench to replace Tom Banks in the 16-15 win over Scotland, then had his first run-on start against France, before playing Italy and Wales.
He was in Rennie’s Wallabies squad in January, but when Jones took charge Campbell was overlooked for Tests and the World Cup, playing for Australia A against Tonga in July.
Kiss said Campbell was “not kicking stones” and had the mentality and talent to get back and play for Australia.
“Jock is a driven young man. I don’t think he has a ‘me versus them’ mentality about this,” the coach said.
“He just wants to get better every day and really welcomed the fact that (assistant coach) Brad Davis has come in now and we are going to put more detail in our backs play.
“He is hungry, as they all are, but he’s very determined to do what he can to get back into those (Wallabies) reckonings for sure.”
Kiss has named 11 debutants in the squad to play the Wild Knights.
Centre Lawson Creighton will captain Queensland for the first time and will be at the helm of a squad that boasts 10 players with Super Rugby experience.
Kiss, who said he inherited a squad in great shape from former coach Brad Thorn, said the clash with the Japanese outfit would provide a glimpse into the style of rugby he wanted the Reds to play under his stewardship.
“I want to become a team that’s very, very hard to beat and that’s very hard to work out … so that we’re creating options all the time, and I want a team that’s brave to pull the trigger,” he said.
“I want my boys to play a progressive, aggressive style of rugby, while understanding the tenets of the game – the set piece and defence, and those things that set you up – but I want us to chance our arm a bit more and find out how good we can be.”
The Wild Knights are coached by former Wallabies mentor Robbie Deans.
“This is a fixture we have reignited,” Deans said.
“The first was in 1994. Last year the Reds came up and we …came second by some distance.
“This opportunity to travel, particularly for this group of players, is fantastic.
“We are using this time of the year to expose and develop the next tier, the next generation.
“We will be better for it and we hope to present better than we did last year.”