Schatz rewarded for rugby decision

Jake Schatz’s decision to choose rugby union over basketball was vindicated on Tuesday when he was chosen in the Wallabies squad along with Reds back-row teammate Liam Gill.

Schatz represented Queensland in both sports at junior level and his sister Bec played for Townsville in the WNBL.

Named in the Australian squad for the Rugby Championship, the 193cm forward wasn’t wondering whether he could have been playing for the Boomers at the Olympics in London rather than the Wallabies.

“I came to a point it was about which sport I enjoyed more, but it was rugby in the end,” said Schatz, who can play blindside flanker and No.8, but prefers the latter position.

He felt some of the basketball skills he acquired had helped his rugby.

“I feel like it definitely helps at lineouts – catching, passing – all your finer skills of the game,” said Schatz, who Wallabies coach Robbie Deans believes can ultimately play all three back-row positions.

Both Schatz and openside flanker Gill expressed surprise at making the Wallabies squad.

Gill was one of three openside flankers in the squad, along with captain David Pocock and Michael Hooper.

“It certainly wasn’t expected, the more I thought about it, the less likely I thought I would actually be in the squad,” Gill said.

“It was a huge shock and it’s a huge honour to be down here. It’s a big surprise.

“Just the fact that David Pocock is arguably the best in the world and Michael Hooper had a great June Test series and it was hard for me to justify that they (the Wallaby selectors) would take the three sevens.”

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