Ben Daley is capable of reviving his Wallabies chances just like late-career bloomer Greg Holmes did, interim Queensland Reds co-coach Nick Stiles reckons.
Daley is set to make his 82nd and final appearance for the Reds in Friday night’s Super Rugby clash with the Melbourne Rebels, ahead of his switch next year to the Western Force.
The Reds will be sorry to see one of their favourite sons go but are hopeful the move will provide Daley with a platform to relaunch his career after an injury-plagued past few years.
Daley made three starts for the Wallabies against England in June 2010, but dropped off the Test radar despite helping the Reds win the Super Rugby title the following year.
Since then it’s been a case of injury after injury for the 28-year-old, who has twice undergone significant shoulder reconstructions, battled knee issues and has missed most of this season because of a torn pectoral muscle.
Stiles believes Daley should take inspiration from teammate Holmes, who had an eight-year wait between his last Test cap and his return to the Australian fold for the recent series against England.
“He’s still young enough as a prop to succeed,” Stiles said.
“You saw Holmesy, he was eight years between Test matches and there’s that same sort of desire in Dales to continue to play for the Wallabies.
“He’s been clear with his statements that he didn’t look to go overseas because he wanted to stay and represent Australia and it’s fantastic that’s his attitude.
“If he can stay on the park, there’s good football ahead of him.”
Daley and Holmes aren’t the only Reds players bidding farewell on Friday – Liam Gill (Toulouse), Curtis Browning (Lyon) and the Fainga’a brothers (Brumbies) are also headed elsewhere at the end of the season.
“It’s a part of the modern game now,” Stiles said.
“You’ve seen the Giteau Law come in, it’s really opened up the borders in a sense for rugby players to move on, but also have the ability to come back.
“Players are leaving Australian rugby at a lot younger age than they used to. (But) it doesn’t mean they won’t come back.”