Melbourne Rebels’ winger, Andrew Kellaway, has been rewarded for an extraordinary maiden Test season by being selected as one of the final four candidates for World Rugby’s Breakthrough Player of the Year.
After making his Test debut against France at Suncorp Stadium in July, the Scots College prodigy has played 11 of a possible 12 Tests, scoring 8 tries – the second highest return for a debut Test season in Wallabies’ history.
Despite his rapid ascension to Test stardom this year, the twenty-six-year-old said the recognition caught him by surprise.
‘It would certainly be a great way to cap a memorable first season for me,” said Kellaway.
“It was a bit of a surprise to be honest, but a welcome one, nevertheless.”
Carrying a five-match winning streak, the Wallabies entered November in impressive form, but have since endured a challenging past fortnight following back-to-back losses against Scotland and England.
Despite this, morale remains high, as Kellaway and his teammates look to finish their Test season on a high.
“It’s the last week now for most of us, so there’s all sorts of emotions flying about.”
“Obviously, the mood was a bit flat after the last two losses where we believe we could’ve won and put ourselves in the right chances to win.
“Fortunately, we get another chance this weekend, so everyone is really pumped to get stuck in and finish on a high.”
The Wallabies will be entering this weekend’s clash against Wales in uncharted territory, with 118 cap veteran, Michael Hooper, ruled out following a grade two foot sprain suffered in the second half of last weekend’s match against England at Twickenham.
Kellaway conceded that while Hooper’s withdrawal will be significant, he’s excited to see who seizes the opportunity to step up in his absence.
“You don’t ever replace someone of that calibre.”
“I think it’s well documented what Hoops gets up to on the field – he’s one of a kind but that’s the great challenge this week presents.
“We’re going to need a couple of guys to step up and shoulder a bit of that burden, because the boss isn’t out there, so that’s really exciting for those to have more responsibility up front.
“Wales are a class act, so we’re really going to have to be on our game this weekend.”
To watch Andrew Kellaway play for the Rebels in the upcoming Super Rugby Pacific season, click here:
The Wallabies play Wales at Principality Stadium on Sunday 4:30 am, AEDT. Watch the clash live, on demand and ad-free on Stan Sports