Hallam Amos enjoying rapid rise to international rugby with Wales
Saturday 23 November 2013
Hallam Amos admits he is enjoying the ride after being fast-tracked from armchair viewer to Test-match performer in less than a fortnight.
When Wales went toe-to-toe with South Africa earlier this month, 19-year-old Amos watched on television with no idea of what was about to unfold.
Barely 24 hours later, he had been called into the Wales squad as training cover following a high casualty count in the Springboks clash, and his international debut followed against Tonga on Friday night.
Amos showed some quality touches and was just inches away from scoring a try, providing an occasional highlight of an uninspiring Millennium Stadium encounter as Wales laboured to a 17-7 success.
The versatile Newport Gwent Dragons back made his first Wales appearance on the wing - he is equally adept at full-back or centre - and coped well enough to suggest a long international career could lie ahead.
"Two weeks ago, I was sitting watching the South Africa game and had no idea I would be involved a fortnight later. Things do move very quickly in this game," he said.
"The intensity of training definitely brings you on. There are no hiding places. You have to be accurate in everything you do.
"Rob Howley (Wales assistant coach) always says international rugby is about doing the basics really well. When you are playing in front of 50,000 people you can't hide, really.
"It was an amazing experience, very special, and I really enjoyed it. I am a bit battered and bruised now, but it was good to get the win."
Howley has described Monmouth School product Amos as a player with the 'x-factor', and he almost made it a try-scoring debut early in the second half, but television replays showed his foot had brushed the touchline as he dived over at the corner flag.
"It was close," he added. "Maybe if I wore size nine boots instead of size 11, I would have had it. You win some, you lose some.
"The game was very fast. The ball-in-play time wasn't huge, but it was very physical and my body is definitely feeling the difference.
"It is good playing with kind of the next calibre of player. Playing alongside Leigh (Halfpenny) and George (North) in the back-three was amazing.
"I felt comfortable and didn't feel out of place too much. The nerves soon went, although it was good to get an early touch and have a couple of runs.
"We just could not get that final breakthrough in the second half. We were over their line four times or something, and it didn't go our way, but a win is a win."
Amos could now be involved in next Saturday's autumn finale against Australia, when Wales will target a first victory over the Wallabies since 2008.
His versatility makes him a strong bench option for Wales boss Warren Gatland, with Liam Williams likely to return in the number 11 shirt, and Amos said: "It would be incredible (to be involved).
"It would be another step up, but there is a big week of training ahead and we will see what happens. I relish a challenge, and I have enjoyed every step up so far.
"I remember watching the Lions in Australia this summer, and to have an opportunity of playing against some of those boys would be a dream come true."
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