Playing a Test off the bench made Scott Fardy appreciate the role of every player in the 23, though he hasn’t stayed there for long.
When asked about his reaction to being relegated to the pine in the opening Bledisloe Test, Fardy’s response was typically pragmatic.
“From the outset when he said I wasn’t starting, I knew I was on the bench I knew that I had a role to do there so I wasn’t too worried,” he said.
Being a ‘finisher’ is not a place that Fardy has found himself often under Michael Cheika, missing just one Test in the past 12 months, though he said the stint gave him a newfound respect for the bench players.
“You always want to start Tests but I knew that I had a role to play in the 23 so that’s the important thing,” he said.
”You probably don’t give enough credit to the guys who come off the bench.
“They’ve got a big job to do and I haven’t really been at that part of the team so I’ve only built more respect for the guys that do that week in, week out.”
While he is back in the starting team this week, senior lock Rob Simmons is back home in Australia, after being dropped from the 23.
Fardy said he was confident that Simmons wouldn’t be in Test exile forever, but said it was always intensely competitive in the Test arena.
“I think all guys are on their toes at all times,” he said.
“It’s a fight for positions you saw that last week where I didn’t start.
“Every guy goes through it at some point in their career. Rob’s got a big opportunity to back and have a crack at Queensland Country. You’ll probably see him in coming weeks.”
Fardy’s start means the Wallabies will have an extra lineout option, something that could be very handy in an area they were dominated in the opening Test.
All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock was a key destroyer for New Zealand in the set piece and said they would be expecting a closer challenge this time around.
“Their lineout leaders are talented guys so no doubt they'll bring something new, something a little bit different,” he said speaking before the Wallabies team announcement.
“So, for us, [it’s about] making sure our system's in place and just be aware and ready for that.
“We won't know what they change up until we get out there."