By James Heffield, Betfair journalist
James is a Betfair sponsored journalist who will be contributing exclusive content – like this interview with Ben Alexander – for Green and Gold Rugby
New Wallabies prop Ben Alexander says adapting to the raw power and physicality of test match rugby was one of the biggest challenges he faced on his debut against France last weekend.
Alexander is the newest member of the green and gold team and made his first appearance for the side when he came off the bench to replace Benn Robinson in the 59th minute of the Wallabies emphatic 34-13 win.
The former Australian under-21 age group representative played a solid last quarter but admitted after the game that the match had been a “huge” step up from Super 14 in terms of its physicality.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet to be honest. It’s a tremendous honour representing your country and everyone who lives in it, and something I will never take lightly. As for the match, it was much more physical than what I’ve dealt with before.”
But at 23 years of age, Alexander realises that he’s still got a long time to build his physique to ensure he can keep on dominating in the scrums. He said he would continue his strength training during the Wallabies camp and was looking forward to rejoining the Brumbies in November for Super 14 pre-season training.
“I’m looking forward to getting some time to just concentrate fully on my physical development. I’m only in my first year as a professional footballer so I have massive gains to make in terms of strength, speed and fitness.”
Alexander said the experience gained with the Brumbies had been integral in his selection to the Australian team. He enjoyed the attacking brand of football they played and had no plans to leave the Brumbies anytime soon. The team’s coaching staff would be different next season and he was hoping to learn more from yet another group of experts, he said.
During the 2007/2008 Super 14 he rated the Waratahs forward pack as the most difficult to play against, saying it was the “form pack” of the entire completion. The most difficult players he had come up against were South African prop BJ Botha and New Zealand prop Neemia Tialata, he said.
Outside of rugby, Alexander said he was kept busy trying to complete a sports media degree at the University of Canberra. His hobbies included “hanging out with mates, video games and movies”, he said. During the offseason, which could be short if he can hold his spot in the Wallabies, he hoped to visit some friends in England, or get away to Las Vegas, he said.
Ben Alexander’s rugby heroes:
Keith Woods, John Eales, Toutai Kefu, Dan Herbert, Tim Horan, Stephen Larkham, George Smith.