Kane Douglas is confident he’s approaching full fitness as he prepares for his likely Rugby World Cup role of hitting rucks and hurting people.
Few players will go into next month’s World Cup with less match time under their belts in the past six months than recalled Wallabies lock Douglas.
Having played only 17 minutes of Test rugby off the bench in the Bledisloe Cup decider since he underwent back surgery in March, Douglas seems certain to be given a start in the World Cup warm up match against the US in Chicago on Saturday.
Coach Michael Cheika showed enormous faith in the giant 26-year-old’s abilities when selecting him ahead of the likes of former skipper James Horwill in his Cup squad in the wake of his recent return from Irish club Leinster.
And the time is fast approaching to show the faith was justified.
“The body’s feeling alright,” Douglas told AAP on Wednesday. “It’s been a tough couple of days so I’m looking forward to the day off tomorrow.
“As much as it feels sore right now I know it’s only because we had a hard session today.”
He rated his current fitness at about 90 per cent.
“I’m hoping with the training I’ll be able to get there, I obviously want to be 100 per cent fit by game one of the World Cup,” he said.
Douglas appears to be pitted against even bigger Will Skelton for a starting role at the World Cup, locking alongside a lineout specialist – either Rob Simmons or Dean Mumm.
“It’s good to have a lot of guys in the same position around,” Douglas said. “The competition is only going to make us better.”
He hoped to sit down with Cheika later in the week to discuss his role but he had a fair idea what is required after playing under Cheika with the NSW Waratahs until the end of their Super Rugby title-winning campaign in 2014.
“Back then he wanted me to keep working hard, hit rucks and try and hurt people when I do,” Douglas said.
It’s not just the faith shown by Cheika motivating Douglas to succeed at the World Cup.
“I’m not just doing it for Cheik, I’m doing it for myself, my family and the other boys,” he said.
Douglas insisted the Wallabies would not underestimate the US team, who are ranked 16th in the world.
“I know they’ve got a big, physical team with a few big second-rowers in Greg Peterson and Hayden Smith,” Douglas said.
“They’re pretty good over the ball. It’ll be a big focus for us tying to nullify those threats and be really aggressive on those rucks.”