White's return caused concern for a teammate
SPOTLIGHT: Scrumhalf Joe Powell says he’s better prepared for another crack with the Wallabies if he wins selection for next week’s opening Bledisloe Cup Test against the All Blacks in Wellington.
Powell made his Test debut back in 2017 but has only played four matches since, and none against New Zealand, who Australia face on October 11.
Now 26 and having won the Super Rugby AU title, where he started in the Brumbies No.9 jersey, Powell says he ready to put his mark on the Wallabies.
He’s in a four-way tussle for the Test scrumhalf role, with his Brumbies teammate Nic White the incumbent, while the Reds’ Tate McDermott and Waratah Jake Gordon also have strong cases.
“My first time in this set-up I was 22, so I was probably a bit quieter and not as confident around the group, I’d just listen a lot more,” Powell said on Friday.
“Having the opportunity at the Brumbies to be a part of the leadership group has helped me out a lot, and I’ve enjoyed it.”
Under former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, Powell sat behind White and Wallabies centurion Will Genia, who is now playing in Japan.
But the signing of new coach Dave Rennie presented a clean slate.
He admitted he thought with White’s mid-season return to the Brumbies from Europe could dent his hopes with Rennie and he could again be left out in the cold.
“I thought I might have been playing around in club footy for the rest of the year, so it was definitely really exciting times to get the call up to the squad,” he said.
“I think with any new coach everyone’s trying to put their hand up and perform the best.
“I think the selections he’s already made in terms of the squad, there’s plenty of new faces so it is exciting, a refreshing time to see some new blood in the squad.”
Powell’s desire to play Test football helped make his decision to leave Canberra after six years of Super Rugby and sign with Melbourne this week.
With White and Ryan Lonergan at the Brumbies and the Rebels losing Ryan Louwrens to Japan, it was a perfect match.
“Playing for the Wallabies a is a huge part of why want to stay in Australian rugby,” he said.
“I wanted to exhaust my options here before I looked overseas.
“I’m definitely happy that the Rebels are there to give me an opportunity to continue to play in Australia.”