Test rookie Jesse Mogg has declared he is ready to help the Wallabies resurrect their series against the British and Irish Lions and wants his call-up to be ”for a long time and not just a one-off”.
Just days after watching the first Test in a Dickson pub, Mogg has rocketed into contention as the Wallabies count the cost of a brutal opening to the series.
Pat McCabe, Digby Ioane and Berrick Barnes have all been ruled out of the second Test in Melbourne on Saturday, while outside-centre Adam Ashley-Cooper is racing the clock to recover from a shoulder injury.
But if coach Robbie Deans calls on Mogg, the ACT Brumbies flyer wants to ensure it’s the start of a long career and not just a cameo.
”The worst thing you could probably do is make your debut and then go missing,” Mogg said on Tuesday.
”Hopefully when I do get that opportunity to play for the Wallabies for the first time – whether that’s Saturday, the end of the year or next year – I hope it’s for a long time and not just a one-off.”
A Test debut would cap a rapid rise to the top for Mogg.
He was playing club rugby in Canberra for Wests and preparing to give up on his Super Rugby dream when Brumbies coach Jake White threw him a lifeline. When the Lions toured 12 years ago, Mogg was playing Australian football and hadn’t even contemplated a career in rugby.
He was included in Wallabies camps earlier this year but missed selection in Deans’ initial squad for the Lions series.
”I was a little bit disappointed when I didn’t make the [Test squad], but two years on from where I was is a massive leap. I’m still striving to be better and make my debut and be a mainstay in the Wallabies,” he said.
Mogg trained at fullback and is one of three options – along with Israel Folau and Kurtley Beale – Deans has to replace Barnes in the No.15 jersey. The 24-year-old isn’t daunted by the task and will draw confidence from his performance for the Brumbies against the Lions in Canberra last week if he gets an opportunity.
Wallabies and Brumbies great Stephen Larkham said Mogg’s performance against the Lions in Canberra was proof he could take the next step in his career.
”I can understand why Moggy’s been called in – he’s had a fantastic season,” he said on Tuesday.
”He had a great game against the Lions and really controlled the game with his boot. He’s a very dangerous attacking player and the things he brings to the game is something the Wallabies need.”
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