Wallabies hero Nic White has taken his chance for redemption and gone a long way towards earning a starting spot against the All Blacks in Auckland next week.
White scored the last ten points of the match in Australia’s Rugby Championship clinching win at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, after replacing starting halfback Nick Phipps, who had an unhappy night, making several errors.
The Brumbies half kicked a penalty to push the Wallabies ahead by a point and then scampered over for a late try which he converted.
It was a happier outcome than in his last game against New Zealand in Brisbane last year, when he kicked the ball to the All Blacks late in the game and they scored a try to steal the match.
“It was good to get another chance to redeem that, so yeah, it feels good now at the moment,” White said.
Starting the season behind Phipps and Will Genia, who was injured in the season-opening Test against South Africa, White agreed it would be a fantastic challenge next Saturday at Eden Park, a ground where Australia haven’t beaten New Zealand in 15 Tests and 29 years.
“Yeah it would, but at the moment just enjoying that win and we’ll reassess Monday,” White said.
“That’s out of my hands and if i get the opportunity I’d love it, but at the same time there’s plenty of blokes playing well.
“They’ve been chopping and changing the whole team. The whole squad has been in and out, everyone has had opportunities .
“It’s taking those and I’ll continue to work for it, but everyone is looking at the bigger picture at the moment.
“We’re finding our identity and really trying to make the 74,000 here and the people watching at home proud and that’s what we’re about at the moment – not jerseys, and we’re certainly not talking about trophies at the moment.
“It’s about continuing to improve and get better because that All Blacks side in Auckland are going to be a different beast and we’re going to have to be better than tonight to be able to do the job.”
Asked about his try, White said “it was just a bit of a probe and a bit of luck and that just happens at the end of the game.
“The game was such a fast pace and the contact was so exhausting that in the last ten minutes you get some tired bodies and you’ve got to probe about and a missed tackle becomes an opportunity.”
White and fellow reserves Matt Toomua and Will Skelton all had an influence late in the game, but White paid tribute to the starting side.
“I can’t give enough credit to those guys and the way they started the game, they really set it up for the end.”