VIDEO: Polota-Nau 'shocked' by recall
Tatafu Polota-Nau thought he had escaped Michael Cheika’s clutches.
But the Wallabies coach proved his investigative and negotiating skills were up to scratch, luring the English-based hooker home out of the blue for a potential third World Cup campaign.
“I am quite shocked to be back here,” the 89-Test veteran hooker told reporters ahead of a possible return in Saturday’s Rugby Championship Teat against Argentina in Brisbane.
“I was in good stead with the [Premiership club] Leicester pre-season and all of a sudden my phone rings,” said 33-year-old Polota-Nau.
“Little did I know Michael Cheika got my UK number – I never gave it to him, didn’t want to, but somehow he got it.
“He asked if I’d come along and I said ‘sure why not, I’ll give it one last crack’.”
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Noted scrummager Polota-Nau admits he wasn’t happy with what he thought was his farewell Wallabies form last year and it took some convincing from the coach to drag him back into the fold.
Knee surgery in the English off-season behind him, Polota-Nau rates himself a chance to feature at Suncorp Stadium and push younger hooking options like in-form Folau Fainga’a ahead of September’s World Cup in Japan.
“It ended with a sour note last season. I sort of thought it was my last with the Wallabies,” he said.
“I didn’t have the stamina I used to have, but that’s because my preparation wasn’t the best.
“It’s from my end just to see if I’ve still got it and give these guys [younger hookers] a run for their money.”
The Wallabies are unbeaten in their last five Tests in Brisbane, but have won just two of their last seven Rugby Championship clashes.
Argentina is well-stocked with Jaguares talent that played in the Super Rugby decider and, despite losing their last six Tests, present as a genuine threat after their plucky win on the Gold Coast last year.