McCalman looking to throw weight around

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies backrower Ben McCalman has beefed up in his time in rehab and wants to throw his extra weight in Test rugby.

McCalman has added 5kg to his frame in his recovery from an ongoing scapula injury and is getting used to using that in games, and doing it with impact.

With plenty of false starts in his rehab, as he battled to fully heal his broken shoulder blade, McCalman said he had more time to work on building up strength.

“For me, it was an injury where I was expected to play a month out, and I'd get to that period and I'd scan it, it wasn't right,” he said.

“I felt like I was ready to play (often), so I was able to work on certain areas.

“I feel more confident carrying that extra weight, it's a contact sport, so (I want to) learn how to carry that, which I've been able to do in the last three or four weeks and hopefully that adds to my game for sure.”

McCalman didn’t even expect to be on the Spring Tour, brought into camp ahead of the Barbarians game and winning a call-up for the end-of-year tour after injuries to Jack Dempsey and Lukhan Tui.

After more than a year out of the Wallabies fold, McCalman said he was taking his time to get himself reacquainted with what is a vastly different group.

“It's (the game) always evolving but there's still one ball on the field, trying to tackle each other. At the end of the day, it's not too complicated,” he said.

“We make it complicated but it's certainly fast, it feels a lot faster for me running around getting used to it again but I'm enjoying my time, every minute.

“He (Wallabies coach Michael Cheika) doesn’t expect me to come into the group and know everything right away,” he said.

“Just the most important thing, is the learning along the way very quickly and catching up to speed where everyone’s been the last 12 months.”

Ben McCalman was a key player in the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyMcCalman’s defensive efforts were decisive in his last Test against Wales, back in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and with just three Tests since that tournament, it’s a game still fresh in his mind.

“The memories are still really close in my mind but I think every game I've played against Wales has been within less than 10 points soI  expect nothing less this week,” he said.

"There's a lot of new faces but also a core group still around from that year, so I expect the result to be similar.”

The Wallabies take on Wales on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 5:15pm local and Sunday 4:15am AEDT, LIVE on beIn Sport and SBS.