Holmes hoping for Brisbane start

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Greg Holmes spent eight seasons watching Wallabies Tests on his couch, wishing he could have an opportunity to don the gold again.

The Reds veteran felt if only he could snag a spot, he could make an impact equal to or greater than those running out.

“I did, yeah. I needed to get another chance back in there,” he said.

“Luckily enough I played well enough last year to get back and I just want to dig the claws in.

“I want to stay in here now.

Holmes is more comfortable in the Test fold this season but an acute sense of the temporary nature of that position keeps him motivated.

“I know first hand how quickly you can drop out the back door,” he said.

“It’s pretty hard watching from the couch at home and thinking ‘I could be out there playing’.

“It’s pretty hard to swallow. I want to stay as long as I can now.”

Holmes is set to join Premiership side Exeter at the end of the season, well short of the 60 caps he needs to be eligible for Tests while playing overseas, but he isn’t ruling out a return to the Wallabies scene.

“I’ll never say never but as it stands, this will be my last year,” he said.

“That’s sad in a way but I want to finish really well.

“I want to get a start this weekend and if I can, I want to start all of them.

“I had a start against Argentina and that was the only one. I’d love to get another start, especially in Brisbane. That would be nice.”

Holmes is tantalisingly close to winning that starting tighthead spot against England this weekend, but faces a late challenge from incumbent Sekope Kepu.

Sekope Kepu has been impressive in training. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyThe return of Kepu from France has added extra competition but with last year's starting tighthead having played little rugby in recent weeks and arriving less than a week out from the Test.

Holmes said Kepu hadn’t missed a beat in training, a big boost to the squad.

“He (Kepu) slotted straight in. He hasn’t been away that long and everyone knows his class,” he said.

“He’s great to have around the squad. The young guys look up to him a lot and his experience is huge for us. To have back is huge.”

Holmes said he wasn’t sure which way Cheika would go with their starting lineup against England on Saturday, when asked whether he was preparing for Kepu to take the starting spot.

“I hope not because I’d like to (start),” he said.

“Honestly, we’ve been swapping and changing at training. Nobody knows the team. He very well could be (starting).”