Wallabies dream a step closer for Red

HIGH HOPES: Reds’ front-rower Albert Anae will be hoping to make his debut for the Wallabies after being named in the 28-man side to face the Springboks.
HIGH HOPES: Reds’ front-rower Albert Anae will be hoping to make his debut for the Wallabies after being named in the 28-man side to face the Springboks. Joseph Johnsongetty Images

QUEENSLAND Reds front-rower Albert Anae found it hard to watch the Springboks' brutal bashing of the Wallabies in their 38-12 Rugby Championship triumph in Brisbane earlier this month.

Now he's hoping to get the chance to right the ledger in Cape Town on Saturday.

The Wellington-born, Brisbane-raised Anae played 11 Super Rugby games for the Reds last season, as well as their clash against the British and Irish Lions in June.

The 24-year-old is one of four uncapped players in Australia's 28-man squad for the two-game tour of South Africa and Argentina - he would love nothing more than to earn his first cap in the fierce heat of the 80-minute battle against the South Africans.

"They (South Africa) out-muscled us with their intensity and physicality up front in Brisbane - it really hurt to see it," Anae told APN.

"Now it means we must front up in their backyard and man-up against them - I won't back down from that physical confrontation if Ewen (coach Ewen McKenzie) gives me a go."

Despite being born on the other side of the Tasman, Anae, who has spent the past couple of months playing for Bay of Plenty in the Kiwi National Provincial Championship, said it had always been his dream to wear Wallaby gold.

He has already worn it at schoolboy, under-19 and under-20 level, and now he's one step closer to representing his adopted country at senior level, something he admits is really hard to take on board.

"When Ewen called to give me the heads up, well, I was stunned to be honest," Anae, who made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds in 2011, their championship-winning season, said.

"I know I spent time with the squad as injury cover ahead of the first Test against the All Blacks in Sydney, but I never realised I would be in the running to be named in this tour squad - you won't hear me complaining though.

"My first dream was to play for the Reds and alongside players I looked up to, and then it was to do the same for the Wallabies and play against the best in the world.

"I am just blown away right now. It feels so surreal that I have made the squad."

But while Anae is thrilled to be in the squad, his only regret is that his father Sio is not alive to share his joy with him.

"He died just before I made my Super Rugby debut, but I know he'll be very proud," Albert said.

After playing the Springboks, the Wallabies tackle Argentina in Rosario on October 5.

Topics:  rugby championship wallabies

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