World Rugby has picked six Wallabies in its Rugby Championship team of the tournament, including breakout try-scoring sensation Andrew Kellaway.
The 25-year-old winger was not on Dave Rennie’s radar at the start of the season but forced his way into the frame with a strong finish to his stint with the Rebels.
Now he finds himself on the verge of making Wallabies history with a big chance to break Israel Folau’s record for most tries in a rookie Test season.
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Folau scored 10 in his maiden season while Kellaway sits on eight with games against Japan, Scotland, England and Wales to come.
Kellaway (seven) also lapped the field as the leading try-scorer in the Rugby Championship with David Havili, Will Jordan, Sevu Reece and Malcolm Marx next best with three.
“Morgs (Morgan Turinui) and I joked about this in commentary the other night,” commentator Sean Maloney said on Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven.
Andrew Kellaway finishes off a brilliant piece of play from the Wallabies
“If you had him in the frame to be the top try-scorer in the Rugby Championship, we had him at 1000-1, 3000-1.”
Added Turinui: “I’m not a gambling man but it’s write your own ticket… an unbelievable story, really, about a mature player coming back a complete player and making every post a winner when given an opportunity.”
Former Australian schoolboys star Kellaway was a Wallabies tourist on the 2016 Spring Tour but had to wait five years to make his Test debut.
He left the Waratahs in 2018 and spent time abroad with Northampton Saints, Counties Manukau and NEC Green Rockets to round out his rugby education before returning home.
“Why wasn’t he in the plans, is probably one of the things you want to know,” Australia’s rugby players association boss Justin Harrison said on Rugby Heaven.
“How did he slip through? I mean you can’t capture everyone but one of the things we do know is that players leave, probably earlier than they should to go overseas.
“Just because you’re overseas doesn’t mean you’re out of the plans now, we’ve also seen that, so keeping tabs on those players is probably paramount now.”
Indeed of the six Wallabies named in the team of the tournament, Quade Cooper and Samu Kerevi are players who have improved their games on foreign soil.
Former Test back Turinui said that should be real food for thought for Rugby Australia.
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“The key players of this TRC have probably made everyone rethink the high performance plan and pathway of Australian rugby,” Turinui said on Rugby Heaven.
“Cooper, (James) O’Connor back in and around it, Kerevi back in, (Sean) McMahon, Greg Holmes and Andrew Kellaway.”
The Wallabies Spring Tour squad is set to be named later this week.