TPN, Moore taking Uelese under their wing

The Rugby Championship
AAP
by AAP

Wallabies bolter Jordan Uelese has gone from being starstruck to soaking up knowledge from his future teammates.

The Melbourne Rebels hooker was the biggest surprise of a 34-man squad for the first two Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship matches against world champions New Zealand later this month.

He has made less than a handful of Super Rugby appearances off the bench but with Tolu Latu sidelined by a neck issue, Uelese was called up to join experienced veterans Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau as the hookers in the squad.

Selection continues a landmark year for New Zealand-born Uelese.

"At the start of the year I set my goal to debut for the Rebels," Uelese said.

"Then I was fortunate enough to get picked for the Australian U20s and went on tour and played and represented my country on the world stage.


"To be here today donning the Wallabies colours it's obviously a dream come true for myself.

"I'm still pinching myself, it''s still pretty surreal, but I'm not letting it get to my head just yet.

"Just trying to stay grounded and keep my head down and work towards hopefully playing against the All Blacks."

Uelese was named in the extended train-on squad last month and has started to get used to training alongside the household names he grew up watching on television.

"I think I was a bit starstruck at the start, but it's an easy environment to be part of when you know that there's a lot of guys that are down to earth," Uelese said.Uelese had a stellar Australian U20s campaign. Photo: World Rugby"You've got guys like Tatafu there and Stephen Moore.

"They've definitely taken me under their wing and made the ride a bit easier.

"They are really helpful with the transition from Super Rugby to the pinnacle of our sport in Australia, playing for the Wallabies.

"They've been really awesome in terms of guidance and just little pointers in terms of the set piece and stuff that they've learnt going through their careers."

Uelese's father and brothers also played rugby, a sport he can remember being connected to from the age of two.

"I can remember Friday nights I used to put my gear on for my games for the next day and I used to sleep in it," he said.

"If it was raining and our games got cancelled I always used to make mum and dad drive us down to the field, just to see if it was true or not and then I'd have a a little cry if it was cancelled."

Australia takes on New Zealand on August 19 in Sydney, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.

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