Brumby Joe Powell’s double-edged sword in Wallabies camp

ACT Brumbies scrumhalf Joe Powell admits it’s a double-edged sword travelling the world in the Wallabies but without seeing any game time.
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Powell been with the Wallabies since the first squad of the year was named in May squad but nine Tests later and he has played just 17 minutes in two appearances off the bench.

The 23-year-old has played only two games – both for the Canberra Vikings – since the Brumbies’ Super Rugby quarterfinal loss against the Hurricanes on July 21.

Powell travelled with the Wallabies to South Africa and Argentina, before returning in the Vikings’ 71-14 win against the Sydney Rays last Saturday, marking his first game in a month.

“The first five minutes was the quickest rugby I’ve ever been involved in and I was thinking it’s going to be a long 80 minutes, but it was great to be back out there,” Powell said.

The Vikings sit top of the National Rugby Championship ladder with one game left in the regular season but if Powell is picked on the Wallabies’ spring tour he will miss the NRC finals.

“If I was home playing footy I’d be kicking myself that I wasn’t in the [Wallabies] camp and then I’m in the camp and kicking myself that I’m not playing footy, so it’s a bit of a lose-lose,” Powell said.

“But I’m definitely happy with where I’m at and loving being in the Wallabies squad and learning from the best, no complaints there.”

Will Genia is the Wallabies first choice No.9, while Powell is competing with Nick Phipps for Test minutes and said the message from coach Michael Cheika has been consistency.

“Just consistency in my pass and little things that come with being a halfback but it’s hard when both the other halfbacks are playing really good footy,” Powell said.

“I’m just trying to play as much footy as I can and bide my time and see what happens.”

Henry Speight also featured in the Vikings’ win and is back the Wallabies ahead of the third Bledisloe Cup match against New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday.

Speight started the first four games of the Rugby Championship until he was dropped against the Springboks, but returned off the bench against Argentina in the Wallabies last hit-out.

“This is a big week ahead of us and some are saying it’s a dead rubber but it’s a really important game to us,” Speight said.

“We want to have a lot impact off the bench and I want to come on and make a difference and lift the energy levels and pace of the game.

“I’m not lacking any confidence at all and whoever is named this week we’re going to back each other 100 per cent and make sure we keep each other accountable through our training.”