Banks soaking up Brisbane camp

International
by Sam Phillips

Learning from the likes of Israel Folau, who Tom Banks believes is the best fullback in the world, is top priority for the Wallabies rookie as he settles into camp for the very first time.

Banks trained with the Wallabies as injury cover in September last year but he earned his first full squad call up for the upcoming June Tests against Ireland, an honour he did not expect.

Banks watched coach Michael Cheika announce the Wallabies squad last Wednesday by himself, using his parents' Foxtel Go account on his phone, in his Canberra home - a guide as to just how unexpected the call up was.

"It was a surreal moment, I really didn't expect it," Banks said.

"I was honestly watching it for the other boys and when I got my name called out, I was pretty stoked."Banks is eager to learn from Israel Folau. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyNow that he's in Brisbane, he's soaking up as much as he can from players like Folau while trying to push for a berth in the 23.

"I just want to learn what I can from guys like Israel," he said.

"He's a step above everyone else in the world at the moment and he's come back from injury to play unbelievable footy.

"I'm hoping my time will come eventually, I guess."

Should he earn a Test cap in the coming month, it will cap a remarkable rise for the 23-year-old.Banks is a serious talent. Photo: Getty ImagesBanks moved to Canberra for the start of the 2017 season after then Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham spotted something in his University of Queensland and Queensland Country form, having notched just two caps for the Reds.

Just over 18 months later, a Test cap is within reach.

"Coming from a person like Bernie who has done what he's done for the game, it gives you a lot of confidence," Banks said.

"I've had a close relationship with him over the past year and he has taught me a lot.

"He's really big on the little things and try to perfect everything.


"I was doing running lines, kicking, even passing.

"Everything like that - he really works on your full game."

And those little things have held him in good stead, turning a slow start to the season into the scintillating form over the past month which has earned him this chance.

One only has to look at his try against the Sunwolves on Sunday, where he ran through two defenders at full tilt as though they weren't even there, to understand the confidence that he is currently playing with.

"Over the last few weeks I have tried to back myself where I can," Banks said.

"I maybe should have given the ball to Henry but I'm just trying to back myself where I can."

The Wallabies take on Ireland in a three-Test June Series, kicking off on Saturday June 9 at 8pm AEST. Buy tickets here.