New Wallabies squad member Kane Douglas has won the battle of the young locks and is a step closer to beating older rugby league playing-brother Luke in the quest to represent Australia at senior level.
With captain James Horwill and fellow veteran Dan Vickerman sidelined by long-term injuries, Douglas joins Nathan Sharpe, Rob Simmons and Sitaleki Timani as the specialist second-rowers in Australia’s 30-man squad for the Rugby Championship starting this month.
Douglas got a spot ahead of two other uncapped players, the Melbourne duo of Hugh Pyle and Cadeyrn Neville, after all three were named in Australia’s first train-on squad of the season back in late May.
Kane, 23, is the younger sibling of the seemingly indestructible Gold Coast Titans NRL forward Luke Douglas, who has played over 160 consecutive games since his debut.
Kane is no slouch in the resilience department either, having missed just four games in his first three seasons of Super Rugby, two of them through suspension.
In terms of representation, Luke has played for the Junior Kangaroos and Kane for the Australian Barbarians.
“I probably haven’t got it over him until I make the (Wallabies’ match-day) 22, but it’s good,” Kane Douglas said of his Wallabies squad selection.
Kane has been one of the few bright lights in a dark season for NSW, who won just four out of 16 games.
Coach Michael Foley left the Waratahs for the Force last week to cap off a tumultuous season for NSW, though Douglas wasn’t distracted by the constant rumours swirling over the Waratahs’ off-field situation
“I don’t worry myself with those sort of things, but I just attacked all the games and I think I went alright,” Douglas said.
He emerged in 2010, but fell away last year.
“I don’t really know, whether it was second-year syndrome or I just got a bit too relaxed and thought I had my spot,” Douglas said.
“But this year I ripped in pre-season and I knew what I wanted and I set myself some goals and it’s gone alright.”
Meanwhile, Deans hailed the former of 105-Test veteran Sharpe.
“Sharpey is probably playing the best rugby of his career, to be honest,” Deans said.
He said Sharpe might even want to revisit his decision to retire later this year, though the 34-year-old lock last week stressed he had no intention of playing on.