His days as scrum doctor-in-training might be on hold, but Waratahs prop Tom Robertson has his sights set on adding to his Wallabies caps this season.
Robertson, who made his test debut in a whirlwind 2016, has deferred his medicine studies, with the option to resume the degree until 2020, when he’d have to re-apply, a deadline that leaves him unlikely to return anytime soon.
“They said it would be a good option to defer and hopefully I might come back to it at a later date but I’ll start a masters of public health in second semester and o that part-time.
“I had to grovel and get the Dean’s permission to defer and I can go back until 2020 and after 2020 I’ll have to re-apply but in 2020 I’ll be 26 so I don’t think I’ll be going back to do medicine and quitting rugby at 26 hopefully.
“I’d love to get back there and become a doctor one day.”
Robertson began his Super Rugby career as a tighthead but the 22-year-old said loosehead was his long-term vision, having been switched there with the return of Sekope Kepu.
The front rower has been used on both sides of the scrum for the Wallabies, but he doesn’t want to spend his career as a utility if he can avoid it.
“I wouldn’t like to keep swapping every week and even in games,” he said.
“I guess the good tightheads going around these days - Keps and the Franks brothers , they’re 120kg around that and I’m only 111 and a bit sawn off, so I think I’ll probably be staying at loosehead for a while.
“Whatever the team needs, I’ll play it but I think long-term would be a loosehead.”
Robertson will have a chance to prove himself against the Rebels this Sunday and said the thought of Wallabies selection was well in his conscience.
“It’s getting close to June so all the guys that are in Wallabies contention are going to be trying hard,” he said.
“That’s not to say that we haven’t been trying hard all year, but it definitely places more of an emphasis now that we’re having Wallaby meetings and stuff on a regular basis.
“It’s in the back of your mind but when you’re on the paddock for 80 minutes you’re not thinking in the back of your head, ‘Cheik’s watching me I better play well’, it’s just a thing you’ve got in the back of your mind.”
Wallabies scrum coach Mario Ledesma has been a regular sight at trainings through the year and Robertson said he was helping out with the minutiae..
“He’s been coming in and talking to us and not having more of a physical coaching role but just telling us what he’d like from a Wallabies perspective and the stats and stuff that they bring on the side.
“It helps modify your game in a small way but he’s not your main coach, obviously, but he helps with more the peculiarities of the game.”
The Waratahs host the Rebels this weekend, kicking off at 4:05pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO