Maddocks answers Cheika's call

International
by Sam Phillips

Of all the stories players tell about the moment they were first told they would be going into Wallabies camp, Jack Maddocks' is right up there with the very best.

The Spring Tour bolter, who along with Liam Wright will travel as a development player, was at his second 21st birthday party for the day when he received a call from an unknown number.

After stepping outside and taking a seat in the gutter, Maddocks received the unexpected news from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

"I got up, walked out and sat in the gutter and I can't really remember what happened for the rest of the conversation," Maddocks told reporters today.

"Then I just rang my family and I went back inside.Maddocks didn't see the call up to Wallabies camp coming. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Craig Fitzsimmons"I wasn't going to tell anyone because I didn't really want to make the night about me but one of the boys heard me say Michael Cheika before I walked out so when I walked back in there was five full bottles of champagne and everyone was going nuts.

"It ended up being a good night."

While that story in itself is one worth sharing, the 20-year-old has also taken a unique path to his first inclusion in a Wallabies squad.

The Scots College product was far more focused on a burgeoning cricket career as a teen, playing first grade for Sydney University as an 18-year-old, but things quickly changed when he started playing rugby post high school at Eastern Suburbs.

"I always grew up probably enjoying my cricket more than I did my rugby, with the ambition of growing up and one day playing for Australia in cricket," he said.Maddocks had a breakout year for the Rebels, despite some injury concerns. Photo: Getty Images"When I got to 18 I grew a lot and that sort of helped my rugby more than it did my cricket and I just wanted to play rugby for the social aspect.

"Things started to happen and here I am now."

Going from first grade cricketer to potential Wallaby was a meteoric rise that is yet to sink in for the Rebels young gun.

"I was just saying to one of my mates that at this time three years ago I was playing 3rd XV for my school so I certainly didn't see this coming so quickly," he said.

"I am really happy with how it's all going and I have a lot of people to thank."


Now that he's in camp, Maddocks believes the best way to approach training is to prepare as though a debut could be just around the corner.

"The Wallabies have some of the best players in the world and some world class coaches too so it's a great opportunity to soak that all in and learn as much as I can off them," he said.

"I was really nervous when I went in yesterday for my first day.

"I thought I would just speak when spoken to and hold a tackling bag for training but from the moment I got in there everyone has been so welcoming, assured me of my position and given me the confidence.

"I'm just pretty keen to rip in now."

The Wallabies take on Japan in Yokohama on Saturday, kicking off at 4:40pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

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