Australian U20s backrower Harley Fox doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration.
The Queenslander, who moved to the Rebels U20s program this season, trains alongside Wallabies and All Blacks flankers pretty much every day.
Rebels flanker and Wallabies squad member Sean McMahon is just two years older than Fox and played in the 2015 Rugby World Cup and continued his form this season.
“Just being able to watch him (McMahon), the way he trains you learn a lot off him in that way.
“Adam Thomson as well, I’m learning new roles off him off set piece and that’s an experience I wouldn’t have had this year if I wasn’t at the Rebels.
“Just the opportunity to train full-time and to be a part of the club going forward as well.
“Tony McGahan laid out a pretty good layout of where the club’s at.”
Fox grew up playing rugby league in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, but it was on a school trip to Scotland that he realised the 15-man game was a serious possibility.
“I remember it when I was went on a school trip to Scotland and the way back at Dubai I thought ‘I want to play rugby’ because there’s a lot of travel and you can play rugby around the world,” he said.
Fox is reticent to compare himself to any of the back rowers going around in Super Rugby or Test sides at the moment, though former All Black Brad Thorn
South Sydney Rabbitoh Sam Burgess, who made a much-publicised albeit brief switch to rugby last year, is another Fox looks up to and that tells you just about everything you need to know about his uncompromising playing style.
Fox was part of the Rebels U20s side that reached the final of the recent Super U20s competition, though falling short of his home state’s side.
While he’s not yet part of the Super Rugby squad, Fox said he had certainly felt part of the side through the first part of the season.
And with so many players from outside Victoria playing for the Rebels, it’s a tight-knit club, Fox said.
“Yeah it’s definitely brought a lot of people together and there’s been a few opportunities with injuries this year,” he said.
“The club’s been able to pull through and be pretty resilient in their wins and the way they’re winning.”
The Australian U20s will face off against New Zealand in two matches next week on the Gold Coast, at 6:30pm on Tuesday May 3 and 4pm Saturday May 7.
All matches will be streamed live on rugby.com.au, courtesy of BARTV.