Dempsey not in the team to be a "brainiac"

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Jack Dempsey knows he hasn't been called into the starting XV to be the team "brainiac".

Dempsey, 23, will make his first start for the Wallabies on Sunday morning (AEST) and his role, per coach Michael Cheika, will be simple.

Let the eyes roll into the back of the head and get stuck in.

"I’m definitely not here to be a playmaker or to call the lineouts - that’s for the brainiacs in the team," Dempsey said.

"That’s why I’m here - he has told me where he sees me and what my role is and it’s definitely in the shitters, in the contact and the dominant collisions.

"Attack and D, both of them."Jack Dempsey will start in place of great mate Ned Hanigan. Photo: WalmsleySeason 2017 has been a tumultuous one for Dempsey.

He started the first three games of the Super Rugby season with the Waratahs before suffering a leg injury that kept him out until the June Tests.

Eyebrows were raised when Cheika named him in the squad for that trio of Tests but it showed Dempsey there was light at the end of the tunnel.

"I think the timing was the most disheartening thing," Dempsey said of the injury.

"I was counting my lucky stars when I got picked in that June squad but I knew I deserved to be there, with where I was.

"It was just a lack of game time.

"But that’s all behind me, that’s all gone and I’m in a good head space about all of that stuff and I’m ready to rip in."

The motivation, through that three month layoff, was to get the chance he has been afforded on Sunday morning.

"The gold jersey, number one, was my biggest goal of the year," Dempsey said.

"In rehab you can get pretty dark but that was one thing that was driving me the whole time.

"Not only coming back for the Waratahs but the gold is all the more special.

"Now, it’s about I’ve got the six jersey on, where I feel like I wanted to be."

Dempsey's first start will be a baptism of fire, as the task that awaits is one of the toughest in world rugby.

A fired up Springboks pack, reeling from their worst ever loss, in front of their home fans.

"As you mention, the Springboks are the epitome of that so as I said before, that’s a big challenge and I’m excited for that.

"I’m excited to come up against the Etzebeth’s, Kolisi’s, who are world class in that area, and showing them that I’m not far off them."

The Wallabies take on the Springboks in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning, 1am AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.