The Courier-Mail

Kane has the pluck of the Irish

- IAIN PAYTEN

WALLABIES lock Kane Douglas went from fighting the Irish in Dublin to training with the Fighting Irish in the US.

In between, Douglas (pictured) proved he is ready for Test battle with a far more dangerous assignment: fighting Will Skelton in Sydney.

Douglas is set to make his first start for the Wallabies in almost two years against the USA on Sunday in Chicago, after making the cut for Australia’s 31-man World Cup squad two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old lock won his spot despite just 20 minutes of rugby this winter, against the All Blacks in Auckland, after three months on the sidelines due to back surgery.

Training sessions under Michael Cheika have helped replicate match fitness, and a fiery encounter with 150kg Skelton showed Douglas’ combat fitness is also ready to go.

Douglas and Skelton skirmished during rolling maul training last week.

“I had him around the neck at one stage and then he’s pushing my head back in retaliatio­n,’’ Douglas said.

Douglas last ran on for the Wallabies in September 2013 against Argentina before going to Irish club Leinster.

During a training camp this week at Notre Dame university, where the football team is known as the Fighting Irish, players sized themselves up against offensive linemen.

“There are some big boys in there,” Douglas said.

Cheika is expected to rest several players for the USA Test at Soldier Field, home of the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

 ??  ?? REFLECTIVE: Wallabies lock Kane Douglas.
REFLECTIVE: Wallabies lock Kane Douglas.

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