Uncapped Wallaby squad members Jack Dempsey and Ned Hanigan have declared themselves ready to rip into Test rugby while expressing thanks to those they have replaced.
The two NSW Waratahs are among a new batch of backrowers called up by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika and are contenders to play at blindside flanker in the three June Tests.
Dempsey and Hanigan have thanked Scott Fardy and Dean Mumm – both left out of Cheika’s squad – for advice they have received from the two Wallabies stalwarts.
“These (dropped) guys are well established for a number of years and not having them in there is definitely lacking a lot of experience and leadership and guys pointing you in the right direction,” Dempsey said.
“Scott Fardy has had a a big influence on me during that (2016 Wallabies) spring tour in terms of the one-on-one tips he would give me on and off the field.
“But in saying that, knowing me and Ned quite well, we’re not going to shy away at all in terms of that side of it.
“We don’t lack any confidence in ripping in and having a dig, so that won’t be a problem on our end.”
Hanigan has been mentored by Mumm, who like him moved between the second and back rows.
“Dean has been such a role model for me, everything on and off the field,” Hanigan said.
“He just gives you those little tips, tricks of the trade, he’s been doing it for so long.
“You still look up to those guys. They are experienced in what they do.
“It’s definitely a shock (that they haven’t been selected), they are still playing good footy and we’re not taking this opportunity for granted.”
Hanigan, 22, missed the start of the campaign with a hamstring problem and Dempsey, 23, only returned last weekend after two months out with a broken foot.
“I gave myself a lot of doubt as to whether I’d be involved in this June period, so it (selection) definitely was a bit of a surprise,” Dempsey said.
Ironically it was Dempsey’s injury which opened up a Waratahs starting spot for Hanigan, who has played more as a lock.
“I think any second rower that gets a bit of a taste at blindside straight away starts calling himself a number six. I can play both,” Hanigan said.