Wed 15 May 2019 | 09:31

Wallaby hooker close to Super Rugby return

Wallaby hooker close to Super Rugby return
Wed 15 May 2019 | 09:31
Wallaby hooker close to Super Rugby return
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese will take a step closer to a return to Super Rugby action when he lines up for the Rebels’ second team against Japan’s Wolfpack.

The AAMI Park match is a curtain-raiser to Melbourne’s Super Rugby match against the Bulls on Friday and is Uelese’s first game back on home turf since his knee reconstruction almost a year ago.

Uelese, who suffered the injury on the eve of the Ireland Test series, returned in Sydney club rugby last weekend for Gordon where he played 60 minutes.

“It took the first 10-20 minutes to get a feel for the game and catch my breath but it was great to get out there again,” said Uelese, who has two Test caps.

“The knee is fine, I definitely came out of the game unscathed … just normal body soreness given I hadn’t played a long time.”

The 22-year-old said he’d shed seven kilograms while on the sidelines while he’d also worked hard on improving his line-out throwing which he’d identified as a weakness.

Uelese will have a familiar face by his side in the Rising front row in 18-year-old brother Junior – with the match the first time the pair have ever played together.

Uelese said that his little brother was anything but – weighing in at 130kg.

Melbourne bred Junior, whose actual name is Oveleni, went to boarding school for his senior years in Wellington, New Zealand, but has pledged his allegiance to Australia and has been training as a development player with the Rebels.

“When you are a Pacific Islander player and you are called Junior you know he is the complete opposite,” Uelese said.

“He is a big 130kg-plus prop and I have never played with him in my life.

“It will be exciting to pack down with him. He is a tight-head prop and I am a hooker, so it will be pretty special for me and my family.”

The Wolfpack are made up of players from Japan’s extended World Cup training squad and showed their talent with a 66-17 win over the Brumbies Runners last Sunday.

The Rising will be comprised of current Rebels not playing Super Rugby on Friday and Victorian club players.

AFP

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Wallaby Hooker Close To Super Rugby Return | Rugby365