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Debut against Kiwis will cap oarsome rise to top


Josh Rakic

Swift success ... Rebels and former Manly second-rower Cadeyrn Neville could make his Wallabies debut against the All Blacks this month.

Swift success ... Rebels and former Manly second-rower Cadeyrn Neville could make his Wallabies debut against the All Blacks this month. Photo: Getty Images

IF Cadeyrn Neville continues his rapid rise from rower to Wallaby, expect to see the little-known 23-year-old facing the All Blacks on August 18. He'll be the tallest player on the field with a massive grin on his face.

Up until a little over three years ago, the 202-centimetre Manly product had never set foot in a lineout let alone contemplated representing the Wallabies. He was a rower, aiming for the London Olympics, but instead found a surprise opportunity at Keirle Park when he went to Marlins training one day, bright-eyed and naive, inquiring about rugby.

Within months he was thrust into Manly's first grade side in the Shute Shield, before being scouted for the ACT Brumbies academy. He was eventually signed by the Melbourne Rebels for the 2012 season on a $40,000 extended playing squad contract.

Like any player, the Xavier College product would have been happy just to train full-time with the likes of Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor. Instead, he found himself making his debut in the Rebels' starting side against the Bulls. Eight Super Rugby matches later, and the likeable lock is on the verge of making a shock debut for the Wallabies.

''I've almost been playing rugby for three-and-a-half years now,'' Neville says. ''And if the baptism of my rugby career so far continues - being thrown in the deep end - I'll probably find myself up against the All Blacks. But I don't expect that to happen this year.''

But with an injury list that includes star locks James Horwill and Dan Vickerman, it's becoming more likely that Neville's baptism of fire will continue. Not bad for a young talent, whose main goal this season was to help Manly to the Shute Shield title.

''Three years ago, I just wanted to play rugby and have fun,'' he said. ''I went down to Keirle Park in Manly and asked if I could start playing with them. I just felt like doing it that winter to change it up from league. Some people had suggested that rugby might be more suited to me because of my height, so I thought I'd give it a try. I didn't really know many people down there but was friends with them all soon enough.

''And I guess, like anyone, you set your goals at that top, dream level - the stars, you know. And you just hope you reach the clouds. But I've gone a little bit past the clouds now.''

And how. Until that fateful day at Keirle Park, Neville was one of Australia's main prospects for rowing at the Olympics. He'd grown up rowing, won a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport and was being groomed to break Australia's single scull drought at the Games.

But as he watches the Australian team struggle in London, Neville has no second thoughts about giving up the oars.

''I started my rugby career about a week after my last rowing nationals,'' he said. ''I was in the AIS for a year, in a development program that was aimed at getting single scullers into London. It was meant to be a two-year thing, but various funding cuts meant that our program was going to get canned. So I went back to my club Mosman, and that's where you start footing all your own bills again and things started getting a little bit tough.''

One match payment for the Wallabies would have been enough for Neville to continue rowing for another four or five years.

''My first year was definitely smashing beers after the games - that wasn't all that long ago,'' Neville says with a laugh.

''And then the next year, I went straight into first grade when Manly took a bit of a leap of faith in me.''

You get a feeling someone is looking over him. Most likely, it is his late father, Chris. ''Dad is not around any more but my mum is pretty proud - I try not to get into all that gushy stuff,'' he says. ''Dad was definitely keen on his sports and a big sports fan, and I know he'd be pretty happy to see me doing this sort of thing. If I got to play for the Wallabies one day, I know he'd be pretty proud of that.''

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all

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