The moment that sealed Kyle Godwin's 2017 Test fate

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Kyle Godwin was among 34 players named in Michael Cheika’s June Wallabies squad on Tuesday, but the moment that earned him a spot came almost six months ago.

Godwin’s was arguably the most controversial selection in the Wallabies’ June squad on Tuesday night, with fans arguing the point for his Force counterpart Bill Meakes on social media.

The 24-year-old’s strong defensive game, has been coupled with an increasing accurate kicking and passing game this season, a development that has made him a more dangerous version of himself.

But it’s what he produced when given his only Test chance against France last year that cemented his Wallabies future.

“We’re used to that second receiver, who’s going to create whole lot - like Kurtley,” he said.

“He’s (Kyle) a different kind of player. He’s got a different skill set and sometimes you need to put those kinds of players (in).

“If I looked at him against maybe a kid like Duncan Paia’aua in Queensland - he’s got a totally different set of skills.

“We just want to complement what we've got in some positions with what we’ve got in others.

“Godwin, in particular, what impressed me about him (was) when he stepped up and played in Paris, he was outstanding.

“He took the step up to Test footy and now he’s had that one Test, I want to build on that. - Michael Cheika

“I don’t want to chop and change with these blokes that we invested in last year.”

Godwin has felt the burn of being in the Test environment and bundled out, included in the 2014 Spring Tour squad, without winning a cap, and then falling out of contention through form and injury.

A challenging 2015 had him thinking his Wallabies chance might be gone forever, so when he chance to redeem himself came in last year’s Spring Tour, leading up to that Paris debut, it was one Godwin didn’t want to let slip.

“There was a lot that I learned on that (2014) tour,” he said at the time.

“One of them was don’t take this opportunity for granted.

“I completed that tour and didn’t make the squad for the 2015 season and it really made me realise that you can’t take these opportunities for granted.”   

His composure in those final minutes of their 25-23 win against France, after a late team reshuffle, impressed Cheika, who heaped praise on the final of 13 2016 debutants at Stade de France last year.

“I felt like he stayed in the game. He made a decision where he was going to stay in the game and try and win the game as opposed to just being a part of it,” he said after the match.

“For a debutant to come out and play 80 minutes with a late change in a playmaker next to him – he stood up.”

Just two of last year’s Wallabies debutants missed out on the squad for this series - Nick Frisby and Leroy Houston - with Cheika setting his sights on planning for 2019. 

The Wallabies play their opening June Test on June 10 against Fiji. Buy tickets here.