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'It's pretty surreal': Holloway reflects on long journey to Wallabies call-up

Fri, 05/08/2022, 3:33 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies and England faced off in the decider at the SCG.

Jed Holloway had accepted his Wallabies dream was over. That dream is now a reality.

Holloway was named by Dave Rennie in the backrow for Sunday's opening Rugby Championship Test against Argentina in Mendoza.

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“It’s pretty surreal to be honest,” Holloway told reporters.

“It’s something that I thought would never really come a couple years ago or even last year.

“To get this opportunity is huge so I’m super excited about this Saturday.”

"We're really excited for him, he's such a good man and he's had a massive season for the Waratahs and deserves his chance," coach Dave Rennie said.

"He's got a really good skill set, he's an excellent lineout forward and he's got a bit of an edge about him and we think that's going to be important going into the weekend."

The 29-year-old left Australian Rugby frustrated after injury and a drop in form saw the Southern Districts product fall out of favour with club and country.

Countless times, the former Junior Wallaby had been on the verge of a call-up with no luck, heading overseas to Toyota Verblitz with an acceptance his days playing on home soil might be over.

The move to Japan turned out to be the perfect remedy for his career, coming back a better player and person as he produced a starring performance for the Waratahs in Super Rugby Pacific.

This had Holloway pencilled into the side for the July series against England.

However, in typical Holloway fashion, there was one further obstacle to overcome, suffering a calf tear just days before the Perth Test.

The Waratahs enforcer reflects on the setback with a smile, openly admitting it's the type of incident that had sent the much-hyped prospect 'off the rails' in the past.

In the end, a greater perspective surrounding the game and his family helped centre his thoughts as he worked his way back into the side.

“It’d wouldn’t be part of my journey if there isn’t a setback,” he said with.

“It’s interesting because earlier on in my career, it would’ve probably set my off. I’ve got a good support network with my family and a little girl so there’s bigger things than Rugby.

“There’s things that can now take me away from (the injury) and knowing we’ve got the best physio staff here and working towards that goal which is getting that cap on Sunday.

“It’s given me a huge perspective and showing me what’s important and allows me to enjoy my footy.”

The prolonged wait for his debut presents an unique opportunity to debut alongside good mate Matt Gibbon, a key benefactor of the Australia A program and the current injury woes at loosehead prop.

The pair are close family friends, with Holloway playing the majority of his junior Rugby with Matt's brother Alex.

It was less than five years ago they were both playing club footy with Souths, wondering where their careers were heading.

Now on the verge of sharing the International stage, Holloway was proud of how far they had come.

“I’m so excited to share the opportunity with him,” Holloway added. "As much as I’m stoked for my opportunity, I’m so proud of that guy and everything he’s overcome.

"The stuff they’ve gone through throughout their life and the resilience shown, I’m so proud of him.

“He had a lot of knowledge to get in and so did I being injured for that long period of time coming in these past two weeks so we bounced the game plans off each other.

“I know he is excited as well as Alex and the rest of the family are too. All the people up in the far north coast and down at Southern Districts have been messaging us all day.”

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