CAPE TOWN – Three Australian wildcards the Springboks may have to keep a sharp eye on in the Test on Saturday.
“Australian rugby needs guys with flair and Banks is one of those guys who can create something out of nothing because he backs himself.” Those were the words of Wallaby legend David Campese on the exciting fullback a few months ago, saying that the Aussies would have to go with unexpected players if they were to have a chance at winning the Bledisloe Cup for the first time in 16 years.
That didn’t happen, though, and while Banks earned a cap, he sure has a lot more to offer. If you need any convincing, just think of the 24-year-old’s 70 metre try for the Brumbies against the Bulls earlier this year ... a piece of individual brilliance that showed that devastating pace and step.
His story is a remarkable one. From being an unheralded club player in Sydney a little over 12 months ago, to making it into the Wallabies squad and making his international debut against the Six Nations champions in June, Paenga-Amosa’s story is not that of your everyday Test player. And as good as his background story is, his rugby ability isn’t too bad either. It’s pretty good in fact.
The powerful 22-year-old hooker knows his way around the scrums, and when it comes to ball-carrying, he knows how to apply that power to that as well.
Maddocks’ versatility must make him an attractive backline piece for under-fire Wallaby coach Michael Cheika. But the ability to wear different digits on his back isn’t all he brings. The way he can sniff out a gap is cool, his ability to pull off linebreaks can never be a bad thing, his game-reading skill is good and his support play is superb.
Before the Rugby Championship kicked off, Cheika said: “He’s easy to believe in because he pays attention to all the one-percenters.” And if you saw his breakthrough Super Rugby season, you’d agree.