- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Jed Holloway has climbed from the rugby scrap-heap to the Wallabies starting side after being selected for his Test debut against Argentina.
Named at No.6 for the Mendoza Rugby Championship opener on Sunday (AEST), Holloway thought his chances of an international career were over when he was axed from the Waratahs after the 2020 Super season, when he failed to play even a minute.
But after spending time in Japan and the US, the 29-year-old convinced incoming NSW coach Darren Coleman to give him another chance this year.
Able to play in the second row as well as a loose forward, his abrasive style caught the eye of Wallabies coach Dave Rennie.
He had to bide his time, missing selection for the England series with a calf injury, but finally gets a crack against the Michael Cheika-coached Pumas.
"It's pretty surreal and something last year I thought would never come," Holloway said of his selection.
"There was a little setback, but it wouldn't be a part of my journey if I didn't have a setback.
"I'm really happy that my form throughout the year has given me this opportunity and now it's just taking it on Saturday."
Holloway conceded that his attitude let him early in the career, which initially made Coleman sceptical of signing him for 2022.
"I knew I needed to come home with the right attitude," Holloway said.
"I knew I had the ability but the work ethic and attitude weren't there."
He said his Test debut would be made more special by the naming of uncapped prop Matt Gibbon on the bench, with the pair and Matt's rugby-playing brother Alex close friends growing up in north-eastern NSW.
"I'm so excited to share this opportunity with him and as much as I am stoked for my opportunity, I'm so proud of that guy and everything he's overcome," he said of Gibbon, whose parents both had mental disabilities.
"The resilience he's shown, I'm so proud of him."
Having spent 2013 to 2015 at the Waratahs under Cheika who also named in a number of Wallabies training squads, Holloway predicted the wily coach would have the Pumas raring to go.
"I know Cheik, he'll be fired up, he'll probably be throwing golf clubs against walls like he did for us at the Waratahs," Holloway said.
"He'll have them fired up, so we'll need to be ready to go as well."