Wallabies ready to kick on: Dempsey

Man-of-the-match Jack Dempsey has declared the Wallabies are ready to go to the “next level” after ending their seven-match Bledisloe Cup losing streak.

The 23-year-old said he had never felt more nervous in his life than in the moments before Saturday’s 23-18 third Test victory in Brisbane — his first taste of action against the All Blacks in his fledgling international career.

It didn’t show, with Dempsey one of Australia’s best performers at a rain-drenched Suncorp Stadium and providing much of the grunt work in the clinches that set up the result.

After a heartbreaking near-miss in the second Test in Dunedin and two frustrating draws with South Africa, Dempsey said it was a feel-good moment for the team.

“It’s pretty special but, to be honest, it’s just another step for us,” he said.

“The spirits are up, which is the best thing. It’s more just the relief of getting the reward for all the hard work.

“We’ve lost a few in the clutch moments and this game was all about where we are now, how we’ve changed, how we’ve developed from a mental point of view.

“That’s obviously where we feel we’ve strengthened a lot in the last few weeks.

“We’re ready to go to the next level.”

Dempsey said winning best-on-ground honours came as a surprise and that he felt skipper Michael Hooper, fellow back-row dynamo Sean McMahon or superboot Reece Hodge were more deserving of the individual recognition.

Asked what he learned about his debut clash with the world champions, he said: “The width they play with, I found myself out there marking three blokes at one point and they all were numbers 11 plus, which can be a bit daunting.”

“To be honest before the game … I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous in my life.

“But once (it) starts, once you get your first carry, your first impact, your first tackle — it is just another game.”

Coach Michael Cheika said Dempsey’s performances in the No.6 jersey vindicated the call to take him along on last year’s European tour as a development player.

“Since he’s got his fitness right, he’s had some good performances and let’s hope he keeps going forward from here,” he said.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!