Former Bronco wins Wallabies call up
CALEB Timu's tough call to ditch his pathway to the Brisbane Broncos has paid off big time with his first-time selection in a Wallabies squad.
The standout for the Queensland Reds still has plenty to learn as a backrower yet his power-running, balance and offloading are blue-chip skills that can take him to the top.
Timu's selection after just 12 games of Super Rugby was one of coach Michael Cheika's positive experiments within the 32-man Wallabies squad named last night.
He is one of five uncapped players including exciting Melbourne wing rookie Jack Maddocks and dynamic Brumbies fullback Tom Banks, who the Reds let go.
Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa has risen from humble Sydney club rugby to a Wallabies squad in less than a year as one of six Reds in the squad.
Finding the right No. 8 or No. 6 to blend with Test-toughened trumps Michael Hooper and David Pocock will be one of Cheika's key calls for the big June 9 Test against Ireland at Suncorp Stadium.
The coach has included Reds lock Lukhan Tui as a 119kg project who could be turned into an influential Test blindside flanker who can beef-up the pack's lineout.
The squad will swell to 33 should Rugby Australia get a clearance for Crusaders flanker Pete Samu but as of Wednesday New Zealand Rugby was in consideration mode.
Timu, 24, switched codes in early 2016 after playing rugby league for the Broncos Under-20s and with Dylan Napa and Corey Oates in the first Under-20s State of Origin in 2012.
His fire for "state v state" rivalry was lit.
It is one of sport's uncanny coincidences that he will rip into the NSW Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night just four days before Napa cuts loss against NSW in Origin I.
"I roomed with Dylan that week for what was a really intense junior Origin with heated moments and the emotion you expect playing NSW in any code," Timu said.
"NSW were after him even then, he took some and gave plenty back which was is what you learn about interstate footy when you have Kevvy Walters as coach as well.
Timu credited Reds coach Brad Thorn for preparing him for the next step in his career.
"The big thing from Thorny has been mindset and physicality from the kick-off because it's then that those attributes to your game can come off," Timu said.
"I was a bit lost when I came to rugby but I've worked a lot on the finer points to get crisper with my tackling technique, height at the breakdown, defence and lineouts."
Timu's Mormon faith was a part of his code switch too with club rugby on Saturdays rather than league's Queensland Cup matches on Sundays when Timu is a devoted churchgoer.
The Reds are expected to include Moses Sorovi at halfback when they settle the side to face NSW.
Backs (15): Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell, Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Curtis Rona, Dane Haylett-Petty, Marika Koroibete, Tom Banks, Sefa Naivalu, Jack Maddocks, Israel Folau.
Forwards (17): Caleb Timu, Ned Hanigan, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (c), Lukhan Tui, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Rory Arnold, Rob Simmons, Tom Robertson, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Sekope Kepu, Allan Alaalatoa, Folau Fainga'a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Jordan Uelese.