/ Australia

/ Features

McCalman faces local tests for Wallabies selection
Brittany Mitchell
March 31, 2014
McCalman rose through the rugby ranks in 2010 to make his debut in the gold No.8 jersey © Getty Images

Wallabies selections may still be months away, but Ben McCalman believes his trial for the gold jersey began the minute he stepped on the park for Western Force's first match of the season. With Ben Mowen signalling his intention to leave Australian rugby, McCalman - who has been a fringe player for several years - has been given another chance.

The 29-Test back-rower faces heavy competition for the No.8 spot, but he gets his chance to prove himself further when the Force take on Queensland Reds with Jake Schatz, New South Wales Waratahs with Wycliff Palu and Melbourne Rebels with Scott Higginbotham in consecutive matches from Saturday. McCalman has worn the Test No.8 jersey only once since the 2011 end-of-year tour, the 26-year-old says Wallabies gold is still his goal and his Super Rugby form this season has seen him take high ranking in the inaugural Greg Growden Medal count.

"It's certainly a goal for me, but I think the biggest thing for me at this stage is the next three games - the local derbies," McCalman told ESPNscrum. "The Reds, Waratahs and Rebels are the next three games; they're obviously very important games and I'm hoping to make an impression for that No.8 jersey.

"There are certainly similarities [between myself, Schatz, Palu and Higginbothom]; it's a very contested position. Out the back of the scrum, there are certain skills that are required; we just need to control the ball and are generally seen as a player the team looks to to carry the ball forward and get that momentum and hold a presence on the field."

McCalman made his Test debut in 2010, when he took the field in the No.8 jersey for four Tri-Nations tests and four starts on the end-of-year tour, and he continued to enjoy success when he took the field through the 2011 Rugby World Cup. After a disappointing 2012 - when he missed selection altogether - and 2013 - when he was selected on the bench - he believes playing in a successful team can help his selection prospects.

"I think that [selection] is just something that comes from success through the team [Western Force], and also an individual thing as well," McCalman told ESPN. "It's certainly a lot easier to play in a team where everyone is on the same page and everyone's playing well, which helps my game as well."

"Through the season there are things I'm always trying to work and build on; at this stage to be honest my main focus is just the next three games, really just the local games, especially the Reds next weekend. Coming off our bye, that makes us really confident moving into that."

McCalman has been a Western Force stalwart and believes his game has improved with the winning team © Getty Images

Ben McCalman talks about the rising Western Force in an exclusive interview with ESPNscrum on Thursday

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Football

  • Cricket

  • Rugby

    • Days
    • Hrs
    • Mins
    • Secs

    F1 - Chinese GP

  • OtherLive >>

    Snooker - China Open
    Tennis - Miami Open
  • Latest
  • Most Viewed
  • News
  • Features
  • Rugby

    Breakdown confusing: New Zealand Rugby chief

    New Zealand officials want greater clarity about the breakdown, for both fans and players, as part of World Rugby's post-World Cup review of the Laws of the Game

  • Rugby

    Jerome Kaino re-signs with New Zealand Rugby

    All Blacks back-rower Jerome Kaino has bucked the trend of many of his Test team-mates and opted to re-sign with New Zealand Rugby through to the end of 2018.

  • Rugby

    Super Rugby flavour to New Zealand Under 20s

    New Zealand have named seven Super Rugby-contracted players in their Under-20 squad for a key warm-up tournament ahead of the Junior World Championship

  • Football

    'Nice guy' Van Gaal insists he is a flexible manager

    Louis van Gaal is adamant he is no dictator - as Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney described his manager as a nice guy

  • Rugby

    Hughes set to face disciplinary panel after North clash

    Nathan Hughes will appear before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel on Tuesday following the incident which saw the Wasps forward sent off and Northampton's George North taken off on a stretcher last Friday

  • News
  • Features

Sponsored Links

Make Huge Income from your Home
Download your Free Guide And Learn How To Increase Your Monthly Income