Recalled Wallabies hooker Saia Fainga’a is determined to make the most of his chance against the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.
Fainga’a plays his first run-on Test start in four years this weekend and becomes the fifth player in eight games to wear the Wallabies’ number two jersey.
His selection ahead of Reds team-mate James Hanson was a surprise as Hanson was in the Wallabies’ starting line-up when they beat the Boks in Perth earlier this month.
Fainga’a’s superior set-piece skills earned him the starting role, something which hasn’t happened too many times at Test level.
After his debut in 2010, he started seven of his first 11 Tests, but then had to be satisfied with a back-up role to Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polota-Nau for 18 straight Tests.
The 27-year-old has even spent much of the first half of this year’s Super Rugby campaign for the Reds on the bench, after losing form, and gets his chance for the Wallabies after Moore, Polota-Nau, Nathan Charles and Tolu Latu all sustained injuries.
”It’s been a while,” he told AAP on being named in the Wallabies starting XV again.
”I’m really excited, I feel like a young kid again.
”Obviously this year hasn’t been to my liking but it’s just made me hungrier, especially for the World Cup.”
He attributes complacency to his fall from grace in recent season but is keen to impress against the Boks this weekend.
”Complacency had been the main problem for me but you work out of it,” he said.
”To see Tatafu, Stephen Moore, and Nathan Charles go down, it breeds opportunity, and I have to take my opportunity while I’m here.”