Jack Maddocks made to earn every Test minute

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Whether it be in cricket or rugby, Jack Maddocks has never been one to go about his business the easy way.

The way he earned his first call up to a Rebels team - a late 2016 match against the Reds in which he did not leave the bench - never sat well with him for that exact reason.

Maddocks had trained with Melbourne for no more than a week in the lead up and when his number was never called he felt a sense of relief.

"I felt like I didn’t deserve it," Maddocks said.

"I didn’t get on which I was actually quite happy about because I would have rather be thrust in when I felt I had earned it."

His path to a dream Test debut couldn't have been in more contrasting circumstances.Maddocks has his eyes on a second Test cap. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyA high stakes clash with the All Blacks in his home town - a baptism of fire if there ever was one.

This time around, however, Maddocks was itching to go.

The difference?

He felt he deserved it after eight months in Wallabies squads without earning a cap.

"It’s obviously going to be incredibly special no matter what the circumstances are but there was an element where I felt I’d earned it a bit more," he said.

"I started in November last year, so what was that, eight months.

"It felt a bit more satisfying knowing that you’d done the work first."

Those words say all one needs to know about the pinup boy for the Wallabies' Generation Next.Maddocks impressed on debut. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyHe will almost certainly be called into the starting XV to fill the hole left by Israel Folau in the must win clash Eden Park - his spot on the wing to be opened up by a probable move of Dane Haylett-Petty to fullback.

A schoolboy flyhalf who has his eyes on the No. 15 jersey in the near future, Maddocks' natural ability on the flank has caught the eye this year having not played any serious rugby out wide prior to arriving in Melbourne.

"I feel like I’m definitely ready (to start on the wing)," he said.

"I played my first Super Rugby game last year on the wing.

"It was the first game I’ve ever played on the wing but this year think for me – and (Rebels coach Dave Wessels) was really good with this – just sort of integrating it so it wasn’t really a traditional winger’s role.

"I was running a bit and it felt a lot more natural than what it would have felt if I was playing as a normal wing.

"I think here I’ve got licence to roam a little bit too.

"I definitely feel comfortable there and it’s exciting, getting in those wide spaces and having a good crack out wide."

The laconic breakout star has all the tools to be a decade long Wallaby and Australian rugby fans will hope his career produces more silverware than the past 10 year patch.

For now, the Wallabies just want Maddocks to keep his perfect record at Eden Park intact come Saturday - having played there once (against the Blues) for one win this season.

"I kept it pretty down low so I don’t think anyone knows to be honest," he said.

"I’ll be happy to be a shoulder to lean on."

The Wallabies face the All Blacks at Eden Park on Saturday, kicking off at 5:35pm AEST, 7:35pm local, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Channel Ten. The Wallaroos are taking on the Black Ferns at 3pm AEST.