Wet weather the best test for Hunt

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Karmichael Hunt’s recovering ankle survived a wet and windy scare in Brisbane on Sunday, that makes him confident he’ll be ready to go against the All Blacks.

The utility back came through a sludgy, slippery NRC game for Brisbane City on Sunday, in a confidence-boosting test on the ankle that had kept him out of the game since July.

“The first action in the second half, the ankle got twisted under me, similar to what happened in New Zealand in the last round when I tore my [syndesmosis] so to be able to pull up quite fine soon afterwards was definitely a pleasing moment for me,” he said.

“I was a little bit scared. I managed to come out of it and go a few more minutes before I got sent off.”

It’s been a long road back from yet another injury blow for Hunt, who missed large chunks of 2016, before stringing together impressive Super Rugby form in his third Reds season.

There were benefits to the break for the father-of-three, though.

“It's (rehab) been quite nice. I've been able to hang out with my family - I've got three little girls,” he said.

“I haven't been playing football, so I've just been going and doing rehab and been able to spend a lot of time with my young girls.

“The last couple of weeks have been a bit tiresome because it's just on the back end of it where you just want to start playing footy now.”

Hunt worked his way into Test reckoning with an impressive training week in June and in his first week back in camp since the injury, he has another chance to do that.

Whether he will receive his first bench spot, lines up in the back three or in the midfield remains to be seen, but the 30-year-old said he wouldn’t be trying to predict things.

“The one thing I’ve learnt about Cheik (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) is not to count your chickens too early, who knows where he’ll play me or if he’ll play me,” he said.

“Obviously there’s new plays in the group (since June) so getting a feeling in the group.

“I was pretty sore yesterday as a 30-year-old I don’t bounce back as quick like Samu (Kerevi) who was running around top speed yesterday.

“We’ll see what Cheik has in plan for me but I’m happy to be back involved and around the guys.”

Having been a spectator for the first two Bledisloe clashes this year, Hunt said he hoped the team had learned to back itself more in the crucial moment after August’s Dunedin heartbreaker.

“The one thing about this playing group is they always review their performances and they always want to try and get better,” he said

“If that does come to the point where we are ahead with 10 minutes to go or five minutes to go, definitely hope so the boys understand what is required against the All Blacks.

“They can snatch it right at the death. We hope we’ve learned.”

“The All Blacks seems to find spots of weaknesses all throughout the field. You have to be on your guard right across the field.”

Australia hosts New Zealand in the third Bledisloe Test on Saturday October 21, kicking off at 7pm local, 8pm AEDT,  LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, Win and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.