FOR a rugby player, earning a first Wallabies jersey is the ultimate goal.
So the fact Rod Davies gave his one and only to the school that helped make him speaks volumes for what Ipswich Grammar School means to him.
It also tells you Davies is confident he will get another.
Whether it will be at the World Cup in New Zealand next month is another matter.
Davies is keeping his expectations low ahead of the announcement of the Wallabies 30-man squad on Thursday.
The high of taking out the Super 15 title with the Queensland Reds was followed by the elation of getting selected to make his Test debut.
But it didn’t last long and Davies fears his one chance in the gold jersey, against Samoa on July 17, will not have helped his World Cup cause.
Australia was humbled in huge upset, losing 32-23 to Samoa, though it was hardly Davies’ fault.
He was a last-minute call-up following injury to James O’Connor and had to get used to a new team in a couple of days.
In the Test, he found the precision passes into gaps he was used to with the Queensland Reds replaced by hospital passes the Samoan hit-men revelled in.
“It wasn’t my finest hour,” Davies said yesterday from the school whose 1st XV he once captained and where he returned to donate his Test jersey.
“It was a tough debut.
“We were on the back foot the whole game.
“The Samoans came out ready to fire.
"There was a lot of stuff to work on.”
Since then Davies has returned to Brisbane Premier Club Rugby with Queensland University, helping them to third spot on the ladder.
He admits the transition from sold-out stadiums to suburban grounds with a couple of hundred supporters has taken some adjusting.
“There’s a lot different atmosphere but they’re a good bunch of boys,” the 22-year-old said.
Whether he turns out for Uni this week will depend on whether he gets the call into the Wallabies squad.
“It’d be unreal to be going to the World Cup,” Davies said.
“But I’m not going to hold my breath.
“If I get the call, I’m ready for it.
“I’ve done all I can.”
With Digby Ioane and James O’Connor the incumbent Test wingers, Davies vies with the likes of Lachlan Turner, Drew Mitchell and Steven Gerrard for the remaining one or two wing spots.
“Hopefully for me they’ll pick four (wingers),” he said.
If not, Davies will not mourn, knowing it is the future he can influence, not the past.
“The feeling I’ve got is that I want to be there,” he said of representing Australia.
“You always want to play for your country.
"I feel if it doesn’t come at World Cup time, then hopefully I can make the spring tour (of the UK).
"That’s what you get out of bed for in the mornings.
“It’s what drives me to train harder and do everything I can.”
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