‘Campo Clone’ is Wallabies’ new X-factor
THE exhilarating speed and footwork of the Wallabies' freshman fullback Tom Banks has won an excited tick from rugby great David Campese.
Most of all, the one-time 'Wizard of Oz' loves that he's now watching a young, emerging Australian player prepared "to just go for it".
Banks, 23, joined his first training session as a Wallaby on Monday afternoon at Brothers Rugby Club in Brisbane after playing 24 hours earlier in the Brumbies' 41-31 win over the Sunwolves.
The roadblock to a Test chance at fullback is Israel Folau but that doesn't alter Banks' zeal to learn from him or Campese's prediction that he'll play as a Wallaby soon enough.
"Australian rugby needs guys with flair and Banks is one of those guys who can create something out of nothing for you because he backs himself," Campese said.
The mystery over the choice of a rookie hooker for Saturday night's Test against Ireland at Suncorp Stadium has been clarified a little.
Coach Michael Cheika decided not to instantly elevate four-Test hooker Tolu Latu to the squad even though he was at training, in kit, until weighing up the case of Rebel Anaru Rangi as the replacement for grounded Jordan Uelese (knee).
That delay suggests Queensland's Brandon Paenga-Amosa must be fancied to start in a straight selection choice with Brumbies cub Folau Fainga'a.
The Banks' package was best summed up against the Bulls when he shuffle-stepped and dashed 70m for a try after earlier beating three defenders to bang a saving kick into touch.
The Queensland Reds blew it when not rating the Brisbane Boys' College product highly enough in 2016 when then-Brumbies boss Steve Larkham pounced.
Adding 4kg means Banks is now bumping off defenders too but the switch has really been flicked with his mindset.
"We have a team theme at the Brumbies to play with no fear and personally I have my confidence back (after a slow season start)," Banks said.
"Bernie (Larkham) taught me a lot about perfecting the little things with running lines, passing and so on.
"The main thing is to learn what I can off Israel because he is a step above everyone in the world as a fullback right now and hopefully my time will come eventually."