Planet Rugby

Dennis understands Wallabies snub

29th May 2014 09:50

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Australia Dave Dennis

Left out: Dave Dennis

Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis says he was disappointed but not angered by his omission from Ewen McKenzie's Wallabies squad.

The back-row, capable of slotting in at number eight or on the blindside flank, has racked up 18 Test appearances since his debut against Scotland in 2012.

After failing to win a place in Robbie Deans' posse of players to take on the British and Irish Lions, and in McKenzie's first squad as Australia's head coach, Dennis made a string of international appearances on the Wallabies' November tour of Europe.

Indeed, the 'Tahs lineout-caller was among those players selected to model and market the newly-released Wallabies strip earlier this month.

"Any time you miss out it's disappointing but I had a good chat with Ewen and I know where I'm at with my game and what he wants from me," Dennis told Fairfax.

"I understand what he's trying to do with the make-up of the squad and blooding some new locks. It's 12 months out from a World Cup, you need to give guys some opportunities, so I'm comfortable with that decision that he made."

"I still have ambitions to play in the gold jersey in the World Cup next year, so I just have to keep working hard. I've always been a glass-half-full kind of guy so I'm looking at the positives.

"I'm just lucky I get an opportunity to stay here and lead the boys and be in the hunt for the finals with the Waratahs."

Dennis' latest challenge involves a personal battle with Chiefs oppo Liam Messam, who slots back in at blindside flanker for this weekend's clash between the two teams.

"With [former captain Craig Clarke] not playing, Messam has a big role in that forward pack in terms of controlling what they do," acknowledged Dennis.

"We know we're going to have to be patient in attack. No disrespect to the Rebels, but the Chiefs will challenge us for the full 80 minutes. It's going to be a high-pressure match and it will be the team who can play with a lot of energy and stick to their game for the whole length of it that [wins].

"We've proven we can do that but probably still haven't proved we can do it consistently for the whole match. We're still chasing that as a team."

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