Time is right for Maddocks: Cheika

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Jack Maddocks has had to wait for a Test inclusion and the timer has finally gone off on his Wallabies probation period ahead of Saturday's Bledisloe opener.

Maddocks has been part of the wider Wallabies squad since last year’s Spring Tour but hasn’t been able to crack the 23 in that time.

That has all changed this week, with Maddocks’ patience paying off in the form of a possible Bledisloe debut.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted for a 5-3 bench for the trans-Tasman opener, a shift away from the 6-2 options he selected in June.

Maddocks was going up against Tom Banks for the final spot in the 23 and Cheika said he simply felt the Rebels youngster had waited long enough.

“Jack Maddocks - we've been bringing him through in a certain manner and I think we feel the time is right for him to get the opportunity,” he said.

“He's had a really solid season in Super Rugby, he can cover multiple positions as well - probably got him a touch ahead of Tom Banks in that area because Tom Banks had a great season as well.

“I suppose (the) international part of his rugby is just starting but it's a great opportunity for Maddocks to take his game to another level. “

Maddocks is the only uncapped player in the Wallabies 23 this weekend and Cheika said he had complete confidence in his newest rookie against New Zealand.

“He wouldn't be in the team unless he warranted being in the team,” he said.

“He's the type of guy - he's easy to believe in because he pays attention to all the one percenters and yes there's experience he's got to get and this is the way he'll get it.”

Jack Maddocks is in line for his Bledisloe debut. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley“(He’s got) some of the old-fashioned skills maybe that aren't coached as much these days around support play, getting another touch, being able to read when he needs to be in position on his role and then when he can float off that,” he said.

“He'll have a very specific role obviously depending when he comes in, whether it's onto the wing or whether it's at fullback or even somewhere else if need be he'll be very clear on what he needs to be.”

Rebels and Wallabies teammate Reece Hodge said Maddocks had always seemed on track for a Test debut and his development since coming into Super Rugby proved it.

"I think you can see he just does everything so naturally, the way he plays the game, he plays a lot on instinct and he's got all the skills that you need to play at this level,” he said.

“There were a lot of us that knew that he'd get there eventually.

“He’s probably worked on his temperament and getting a feel for matches of when the big play's on and when it's not quite on, so I think he's really developed that well over the past couple of years and I'll be looking forward to how he goes on the weekend.”

The Wallabies host the All Blacks in the first Bledisoe on Saturday August 18, kicking off at 7.45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO, with the Wallaroos taking on the Black Ferns from 5:15pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.