Rona hoping to trade grandstand for Wallaby gold

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

They say that one week is a long time in rugby so for Curtis Rona, two years feels like a life time.

In 2015, Rona was a regular fixture in the Canterbury Bulldogs lineup and watched the first Bledisloe from the ANZ Stadium stands.

Fast forward two years and Rona may be playing in that same match, a reality that is yet to set in for the Western Force star.

"I watched a lot of rugby growing up and obviously you see the classic games between Australia and New Zealand, you see there how fierce and big the rivalry is," Rona said.

"To be amongst it is even more crazy and special.

"You're in the squad and you want to beat one of the best teams in the decade, one of the best teams in the world.

"It's mind blowing."

Rona was born in Waitara, a town in the Taranaki region of New Zealand but his family moved to Perth when he was an eight-year-old and it's Wallaby gold that he craves, even if he has idols from both sides of the ditch.

"Over the years you watch the likes of Stephen Larkham, who is now coaching us," he said.

"Even the late Jonah Lomu - you used to watch and idolise all these players because they're your role models.

"Every time you play you wanted to be like them.Curtis Rona is dreaming of Wallaby gold. Photo: Getty Images"Even the modern day guys like Izzy Folau - he's been around the game for a long time and to be playing and training with him is pretty awesome."

Rona says the tutelage of Folau and new vice captain Bernard Foley has been priceless.

"With Izzy, coming in, being a new guy, he helped me and showed me with all different situations on the field," he said.

"Also Nard (Foley) - he has the vice captain role and he has definitely stepped up a notch in his training and his involvement, on and off the field.

"I'm grateful to have players like them helping me along the way."

Australia takes on New Zealand on August 19 in Sydney, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.