Ben Alexander shoots to Wallabies bench - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ben Alexander shoots to Wallabies bench

By Darren Walton 27/06/2008 06:29:11 AM Comments (0)

Ben Alexander's fairytale rise from rugby obscurity continued when the unheralded prop gained a surprise call-up for Australia's Test against France at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night.

Alexander - who has yet to even start a Super 14 match - was in camp in Brisbane with the Australia A side when he received an SOS call on Wednesday to join the Wallabies in Sydney to be on standby for injured tighthead Matt Dunning.

Still not expecting to play, the 23-year-old said he was still coming to terms with how Wallabies coach Robbie Deans broke the big news to him that he had actually been elevated to the bench following Dunning's withdrawal with a corked calf.

"This morning, just when we were warming up, Robbie grabbed us and let everyone know what was going on and that Al (Baxter) is starting and that I'm on the bench," Alexander said.

"I didn't get any prior warning. It was just at training and 'boom': they said 'you're on the bench'.

"I can't comprehend it yet."

Dunning was ruled out after suffering a reoccurrence of bleeding from a cork in his calf, his scratching handing Alexander the chance to win his first Test cap having played just six Super 14 games off the bench for the Brumbies this season.

Deans said he had full faith in rookie Alexander, who only two years ago almost had to give rugby away after suffering a near-fatal blood clot following complications with a broken leg

"He is ready to go and did his job well for Australia A last Sunday. It is a great opportunity for him," Deans said.

Alexander said he was hoping his Wallabies promotion followed the same pattern as his call-up for the Brumbies debut against Queensland in similar circumstances two months ago.

"I wasn't initially picked in the (Brumbies) team that started the week before we played the Reds and Guy Shepherdson strained his 'hammy' at training during the week and I got told on the Wednesday that I was on the bench," he recalled.

"That ended up being an extremely memorable experience. We ended up winning by about 30 or 40 and I scored a try and it was one the highlights of my life and career.

"I hope to take what I learnt from that experience and it's pretty much the same boat this time four months later."

Alexander said he was thankful his family lived in Sydney, nearby Homebush, and would be able to be at ANZ Stadium at late notice to witness his Test debut.

"They're all sorted," he said.

"It's more organising all my friends from uni down in Canberra and I've got a couple of mates working in the mines and stuff in Orange.

"I'm trying to get them organised to get down and get a ticket.

"It hasn't been too bad. Hopefully I should be able to get everyone there."

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