Rising Aussie star eyes Olympic-Wallabies double
SPOTLIGHT: In-form flank Tim Anstee hopes to fulfil both his Olympic and Wallabies dreams this year, but his first goal is to guide the Western Force to the Super Rugby AU finals.
Anstee was lured to the Force from the Australian men’s Sevens program late last year on a two-season deal.
The original hope was that Anstee could play at the Tokyo Games in July after the current Super season finished.
But with Anstee now in the Wallabies frame as well, there remains some doubt as to whether he can juggle both international roles.
Anstee’s hot form was rewarded with inclusion in a 40-man Wallabies squad for a three-day camp on the Gold Coast later this month.
The Wallabies are scheduled to take on France in July – the same month the Olympics are due to start.
But there are still no guarantees the series against France will go ahead due to COVID-19 complications.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and Australian men’s Sevens coach Tim Walsh are both supportive of Anstee living out his dual dream this year.
Whether it’s achievable remains to be seen.
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“I think it would be quite busy,” Anstee said of the juggling act.
“I spent four years with the Aussie Sevens program, so it was a big part of my life. And it [the Olympics] obviously got pushed back.
“So it’s something I potentially would like to do.
“But at the same time being in a Wallabies squad is something you dream of as a kid.
“We’ll see how it all pans out.
“The decisions that will get made down the track both excite me.
“At the moment I’m just focused on the Force.”
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Anstee said he had no regrets about joining the Force, even though his switch to the 15-man game could cost him his Olympic dream.
“Essentially I could have stayed with the Sevens program but [coach] Tim Sampson gave me an opportunity to come to the Force,” he said.
“I am glad I came here, It’s a good group of boys, and we are building something really nice.
“At the moment I’m focused on the Force. I’m focused on finishing our season strongly and playing finals footy,”
The Force will need to win at least two of their remaining three games to make the finals.
A non-negotiable will be a win against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday.
The third-placed Rebels are four points ahead of the Force, making the match a must-win encounter for the Perth-based franchise.
The Force then round out their season with home matches against the winless NSW Waratahs and ladder-leading Queensland Reds.