Tom Banks has learnt not to take Wallabies selection for granted after his World Cup snubbing last year,
The Brumbies fullback is in strong contention to wear the No.15 jersey for Australia in Sunday’s Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand in Wellington.
It’s the recall Banks has been working towards after being overlooked by then Wallabies coach Michael Cheika for the 2019 World Cup.
In February, Banks said he was “bitterly disappointed” to miss the squad and that a key to getting a chance under Cheika’s successor Dave Rennie was to “get back and play some good footy”.
And that’s what Banks did in helping the Brumbies win the Super Rugby AU title last month.
It’s now up to Rennie and the selection panel to decide if Banks, Melbourne Rebels veteran Dane Haylett-Petty or the Waratahs’ Jack Maddocks gets the nod at fullback.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) October 5, 2020
“Positions are going to be hard to get but I guess that’s why everyone is training really hard,” 26-year-old Banks said from New Zealand.
“It’s a really competitive environment and that’s no different in the back three, especially on the wing, and then at fullback as well.
“I’d be happy to play anywhere but obviously I prefer fullback and that’s where I’ve been training.
“It was pretty tough to miss out on that (World Cup squad) but my goal was to get back in this position, and to make the squad firstly and to put my hand up for Test selection.
“I’m doing everything I can throughout the week. I’m training hard and definitely trying to impress and then get selection in the First Test.”
Wallabies great Matt Burke said Banks’ pace and ability to get himself involved in the play made him a more than worthy candidate to start at fullback on Sunday despite his relative inexperience of just six Test appearances.
“If Tom gets the job Australia won’t lose anything,” World Cup-winning fullback Burke said.
“Sometimes you have throw these guys in the deep end and it doesn’t get much deeper than playing the All Blacks in Wellington and Auckland.
“Tom’s got speed and you want to see that on the outside of you. He can also bob up as a second flyhalf and has a big kick on him … I like the way he plays.”
Banks said having extra skills as a fullback was now a necessity.
“You’ve got to be a reliable play-making option if you want to play Test footy. It (fullback) is a hybrid role,” he said.
“A fullback these days has got to be able play that traditional fullback role and that second playmaker role.”