Wells back at Waratahs with big call to make for 2020

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Michael Wells has slotted seamlessly back into the Waratahs side after a short Sevens stint but the backrower could have a big call to make at the end of the year when it comes to choosing a format.

Wells, who played Sevens for two seasons from 2014,  was with the Aussie men for the first six rounds of the 2018-19 World Sevens Series before returning to the Waratahs to finish the Super Rugby season.

The no. 8 is committed to playing the rest of the Super Rugby season with the Waratahs but if Wells decides the Olympics is his goal, he won’t be splitting his time between the formats next season.

"At the moment my future is at the Tahs for the rest of the season and I will weigh that up after the season," he said.

“It’s probably not sustainable flipping.

“Credit to the Sevens guys, they are genuine athlete and if you’re committed to Tokyo and you want to do the Olympics it’s probably a matter of getting your feet into the system and giving time.

“It does take a lot of time to adapt to it and respect needs to be paid to the blokes who are playing sevens at the moment.

“You need time in there to get used to it.”

Even with a Sevens background, having played with the Aussie men until 2016, Wells said the switch back to the shorter format wasn’t easy.

There was no easing into the program either, with an army camp in his first week of preseason with the side.

Though the fitness demands on Sevens players are different to XVs, Wells said he hadn’t lost any significant size in the switch, only hoping it would add to his game.

“Sevens amplifies your skills,” he said.

“You’ve got the same amount of ground with half of the amount of people.

“Your one-on-one, tracking, defence, catch-pass – everything is amplified so I’ve had more exposure there. Hopefully I can bring that back.”

It’s not the first time Wells has made the transition, having signed with the Brumbies from the Sevens program in 2016 before moving up to the Waratahs last season.

The 25-year-old said the switch back to XVs was that little bit easier this time around having spent the better part of the last three years in Super Rugby.

“[They] eased me back in, luckily only 30 minutes,” he said.

“It was nice to come in that way and I adjusted a lot easier coming back to XVs than I did to sevens.

“I think I got nine tackles in 30 minutes. I don’t think I made nine tackles in the whole circuit series.

“There’s more contact, tighter quarters, bigger bodies (in XVs). I’ve gone from being a big body in Sevens to being a medium to small body in the forwards in XVs, that’s taken a bit of adjusting to.”

Wells could be in the mix for a starting spot this weekend with Jed Holloway (ribs) in doubt and Jack Dempsey in line to be rested, opening the door for Lachie Swinton to start in the second row and Wells to come in at no. 8.

The Waratahs take on the Sunwolves on Friday March 29, kicking off at 7:45pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.