Representing your country in itself is pretty special, but doing it so close to home was never something Nic White really gave much thought to.
That was until this week, when the Scone-born White assured he would keep his emotions in check when running out at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The result – a 15-all draw with Argentina – won’t necessarily take away from just how much the occasion meant but a shattered White said post-game that the moment was “tainted.”
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“It was pretty emotional to get back here, have the whole family together watching me so it was pretty special,” he said.
“But I knew that I had circled it for a long time but it would be crap if I didn’t get the result.
“Unfortunately it is going to be tainted with a losing draw really.”
It was agonisingly close to never having to be tainted in the first place though.
Whether it was the forward pass to Marika Koroibete or simple dropped balls as attacking raids started to look promising, the Wallabies rued missed opportunities.
To White, every draw has a team that leaves feeling like they got away with something while the other is bitterly disappointed.
He has no doubt which side Australia is on.
“Pretty disappointed,” he said.
“I almost say everytime there is a draw there is a team that comes away with it being a winning draw and another team as a losing draw.
“I certainly feel we are in that category, the latter. That game was there for us to close out and we are pretty disappointed we haven’t learnt from Wellington.
“We got to a position where from memory it was 15-6 and it was starting to come down, the wind was behind us and I just felt like we played a lot in the middle of the field and just a better understanding those are the moments and conditions where it is probably better to play without the ball. I thought Argentina did that better than us.”
White said the Wallabies especially rued a key error in judgement which saw them constantly invite Argentina into the contest.
It is going to be “hard viewing” according to the halfback.
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“They did it against the All Blacks last week and then they did it against us,” he said.
“They gave us enough rope to strangle ourselves. They are a very good side defensively, very hard on the ball and that was probably a moment, a good chunk there, where we needed to do the opposite, we needed to give them the ball, make them chase the ball and be a bit looser.
“Instead, we played, we got a little bit loose and invited them in with some ill-discipline and errors. It is going to be hard viewing.
“We’ve got to learn. Definitely let ourselves down. If we won here tonight we would have to just have to go into that last game and win. Now we have to sit back, have a look and who knows.”
One of the biggest missed opportunities of the game came when Reece Hodge missed an attempt at goal that otherwise would have proven crucial in splitting the two sides.
A dejected Hodge felt he had let the country down but White was having none of it.
“It is a team sport, we had plenty of opportunities before that,” he said.
“We had try-scoring opportunities in that first half.
“That’s not on Reece. It’s good having a bloke who can kick it that far and get us out of trouble. Maybe we needed that draw to a degree if he got us out of trouble and we’re not picking up on the things we need to pick up on quick.”
The Wallabies have their final game of the year against Argentina at Bankwest Stadium on the 5th of December.
With their chances of taking home the silverware in tatters, it may be hard for Dave Rennie’s men to find the motivation needed to get up for the clash.
But again, this was not just a draw for White.
It was a losing draw – and that is motivation enough for him to want to right the wrongs and learn from past mistakes.
“Whenever you come off a loss, while it was a draw, like I say it was a losing draw we felt, there will be plenty of motivation there alone to put things right,” he said.
“It will be a tough two weeks. We would love to send it out on a high, hopefully it is all there for us going into the last game, put on an absolute cracker and you guys forget about what happened here tonight.”