Wallabies invest in Brumbies' Banks

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Tom Banks made the move to Canberra a year ago, for a chance to learn off Wallabies legend and Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham.

Little did he know it might just be the decision that propelled him into a Test camp, replacing injured winger Dane Haylett-Petty.

The outside back watched the Wallabies draw with the Springboks on Saturday night, playing for the Canberra Vikings on Sunday in the NRC, before receiving a phone call he was not expecting, from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

“Cheik called me Sunday night and told me to come in,” he said.

“It's a bit of an unexpected call up.

“It’s been a really good week so far and meeting all the boys and coaches, they've been really good to me, so it's been good.”

Stephen Larkham has helped Banks out. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThough Larkham is no longer at the Brumbies, moving to the Wallabies full-time, Banks is glad he made the southern switch.

“I played a bit of NRC for Queensland Country last year and not much was happening up in Queensland and the Brumbies gave me the opportunity to come down here and to work with guys like Stephen Larkham,” he said.

“He reads the game like no one else, he understands things other people don't understand.

“I think it's just the subtle things, counter attack, my decision-making, when returning, whether to kick or run or whatever it may be.

“Just understanding the defence and when you've got to back blind or those sort of things, he's just really opened my eyes to just taking on the defence and making it a lot harder for them.”

NRC provided somewhat of a springboard for Banks, playing for Queensland Country last year and the provincial competition has kept him playing regularly after Super Rugby this year.

With speculation growing around an expansion of the NRC, potentially with WA mining billionaire Andrew Forrest pitching in, Banks said it was a valuable competition.

“I think NRC's massive,” he said.

“It's that link between club and Super, so it's good having a sort of elite level of rugby where Super's only a relatively short season, so you need that extra game time and I think that's massive for all the players.

“It's been really good.”

He already has some pretty high raps from his teammates, with Wallabies fullback Israel Folau heaping praise on the 23-year-old.

“I certainly rate him as a player and it's great to see guys like himself, be part of this environment,” he said.

“I look forward to training with him for the rest of the week, but also just seeing his progress.

“He's very talented and a young up and comer, no doubt.”

The Wallabies take on Argentina on Saturday September 9, kicking off at 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.