Faulkner takes lessons out of Sydney camp
More than just a chance to blow out the cobwebs, the Wallabies trial against the Super Rugby Selection XV was an opportunity for state players to share ideas and build relationships, according to Tetera Faulkner.
The Rebels prop spent the week in Sydney under the watchful eye of Michael Cheika, in a camp designed help the National Coach select a squad for the upcoming Bledisloe Test against the All Blacks.
Despite an intense few days characterised by gruelling fitness testing and heavy technical components, Faulkner saw a lot of positives training alongside players who were opponents only weeks earlier.
“It was definitely pretty refreshing. Playing against these guy’s week in and week out, to come into camp and have to change teams, work together and get their ideas on a few things was definitely refreshing for myself.”
The intense camp culminated in a match between a Wallaby XV and the Super Rugby Selection XV, designed to match harden the Wallaby squad ahead of their first match against New Zealand.
“The other team chucked the ball around like the All Blacks will in the first Bledisloe. I think it’ll really set up the boys for the next couple of weeks.
“I thought they emulated the All Blacks really well, and obviously put a bit of their flavour into it as well. In terms of our defensive systems, I still think we have a little bit to work on, but our attack looks good and I thought we got a lot out of that.”
Training ground battles were renewed when Faulkner found himself packing down against an all Rebels front row of Sam Talakai, Anaru Rangi and Fereti Sa’aga, who all turned out for the Super Rugby Selection XV.
“There was obviously a lot of talk”, laughed Faulkner.
“It was crazy – one week you’re playing with one set of boys and then your changing teams.”
Asked to identify players who had caught his eye, Faulkner wasted no time nominating a handful of standouts.
“I think Isi Naisarani – I’ve known him from the Force, he’s definitely a player to look out for.”
“Caleb Timu I was pretty impressed with him; the way he carries a ball and the way he conducts himself around the training paddock, he’s a pretty energetic person.”
“From our team, Billy (Meakes) definitely stepped up for me. As a fellow Rebel, he stood up on Friday night”.
Although not named in the 30-man Wallaby camp heading to Cessnock this week, Faulkner knows all hope is not lost after a chat with Michael Cheika.
“He mentioned that you’re never out of the team. Obviously I’m home now, but I get to work on a bit of fitness and a bit of skill work. He just told me to stay on task and keep preparing like you’re going to play this week”