Prop and student Tom Robertson is getting ready for exams of a more physical type than he was anticipating, after serving a shorter than expected rugby apprenticeship.
The 21-year-old NSW Waratahs front-rower has made the Wallabies 33-man squad for the Rugby Championship, which starts later this month.
The recognition comes just a few months after making his Super Rugby debut and ahead of schedule for a lad who grew up aspiring to be a Wallaby and remembered Australia winning the 1999 World Cup, even though he was just five at the time.
“I’m loving every second of it here, because I wasn’t expecting it,” said Robertson, who recently signed a new two-year deal with the Tahs.
“At the start of the year I just wanted to make my Super Rugby debut and to be in the Wallabies is a pretty amazing experience.
“I spoke about earlier in the year everyone has got to do their apprenticeship and this apprenticeship has probably been a bit short, but I’m more than happy to do it.
“It’s been a tough week. The kilometres that we’ve been doing and the physicality and the professionalism of all the players, is another step up.
“But I’ve certainly noticed I’ve been falling asleep pretty easy at night because it’s been tough every day.”
Prior to his call-up, the Doctor of Medicine student was preparing to sit exams and continue his rugby education in the NRC.
Having locked horns with the best front row beasts in the southern hemisphere during his maiden Super Rugby campaign, Robertson believes he will be ready for Tests of a rugby variety if he is given a first Wallabies cap in the coming weeks.
“It’s good knowing that I’ve actually been and scrummed against them and played against them before, so that will give me a lot of confidence, but obviously it’s another step up,” he said.
Robertson expected the much-maligned Australian scrum to perform a lot better than it did in the recent series sweep by England.
“I think there’s a lot of improvement that we can make,” he said.
“I’m certain it’s going to be a lot better in the Rugby Championship, especially considering the work we’ve done over the past two weeks.”