Uelese back from injury in time for Wallabies selection
RUGBY UNION: Young Wallabies hooker Jordan Uelese is confident he will be fit to take on Six Nations champions Ireland next month despite not starting a Super Rugby game since round four in an injury-interrupted season.
The 21-year-old will be named in the Test squad on Wednesday for the three-Test series as the Wallabies look to generation next, with Australia's top hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau resting after playing in the UK and former captain Stephen Moore retired.
"It's a great opportunity for young hookers coming through," Uelese said at a Wallabies school visit on Tuesday.
"Obviously last year I had 'Taf' and 'Moorey' so it will be a bit daunting but it's time to grow up and put on the old man's pants and take care of myself."
Uelese suffered a shoulder injury in round seven in late March and tried unsuccessfully to play through the pain before taking a month off to fully heal.
He only returned for the Melbourne Rebels last round and hopes to get more time against the Blues in Auckland on Saturday.
"It's frustrating being injured and not being on the field, especially when it's coming close to Wallabies selection," Uelese said.
"I obviously missed quite a bit of footy so it would be good to get a couple more minutes under my belt to give me more confidence going into the June series.
"I don't think the fitness has gone down too much so if the coach thinks I'm ready to start I will be all for it."
Even before the injury, Uelese, who has two Test caps, was relegated to the Rebels bench with coach Dave Wessels preferring Anaru Rangi.
The young bull welcomed the challenge and said he hoped Rangi would also be rewarded with a Wallabies call-up.
"Definitely he deserves a chance - he's obviously playing some awesome footy and he puts his body on the line," Uelese said.
"If you want to push physicality and brutality than he's someone you want by your side."