"I know it's a small thing but you want to remember the day you got told you were playing at the World Cup."
While Michael Cheika never represented the Wallabies, he knows how special the honour is, which is why he continued the tradition of asking former Australian rugby legends if they would individually break the good news to the current squad on Tuesday.
A total of 20 former Wallabies - as well as Cheika on one particular call - picked up the phone on Tuesday to inform the country's best rugby players they would be on the plane to Japan to compete at the upcoming World Cup.
The Herald spoke to 21 of 31 squad members on Friday about their individual phone calls and there were some classic stories to come out of it, but a common theme of anxiety that the day was getting on and they may have missed out.
Perhaps the most touching of the lot belonged to Michael Hooper, who had former teammate Rob Horne tell him the news everyone already knew.
Horne, a member of the last World Cup campaign, suffered a life-changing nerve injury in his right arm which cut short his rugby career. It is an injury he will have to deal with for the rest of his life.
"To hear it from your mate is awesome ... we roomed together for most of 2015," Hooper said. "He was calling me and I was at dinner. I was like, 'mate, I'm trying to eat dinner'. I thought he was calling for a catch-up. I cut him a bit short but then he said, 'I've got something I need to tell you' and I said I'd hang on for that. It was a pretty funny conversation."
Adam Ashley-Cooper - call from Matt Giteau
"I was in birthing class. I just texted and said 'I'm in birthing class, I'll call you back' and he said 'sweet no worries'. We were chatting for about 15 minutes and he was making me sweat. I said 'what are you calling for, to tell me something special or let me down?' He said 'that's exactly why I'm calling, congratulations'."
Reece Hodge - call from Matt Burke
"He was one of my idols growing up and I still have a framed jersey of his on my bedroom wall at mum and dad's place. My old boy always complains he spent too much money on buying that piece of memorabilia when I was a little fella. So I walked out of my room and told him now I'll pay you back for it. I grew up wanting to be him ... it was a bit full circle."
Rob Simmons - call from Justin Harrison
"It was at 10pm and I'd gone to bed. We got told to keep our phones nearby and I'd given up. Goog [Harrison] called me and he was in Samoa and he said, 'sorry about the late call'. I think he was pissed actually. He sounded like he was having a good time. I said 'isn't that 1am in the morning for you?' He said 'mate. It's an honour to give you the call'. The missus was off me. She couldn't work out who the hell was calling at 10pm."
Bernard Foley - call from George Gregan (same as 2015)
"We just talked golf initially before he told me. I was a bit anxious about it. I was heading to mum and dad's for dinner and walked in and told them."
Nic White - call from Gregan
"I saw his number come up and said, 'Hey George'. He was taken aback because he didn't know I'd saved his number. I caught him off guard. It was awesome. All those years ago I had my first session with the Brumbies and he was there and I said: 'hello Mr Gregan'. He said, 'don't call me that, I'm not your dad'. I was so nervous. To talk to a guy like that now ... it was so fitting."
Kurtley Beale - call from David Campese
"It was about 6pm and after working hours so a bit of doubt started creeping in. I had an unknown number calling me and it was David. Before he told me it was like a 20-minute conversation on the game previously and what he expects of the back three and what he did in the past. Right at the end he told me. I looked up to Campo and he was one of the greats."
Jordan Petaia - call from Giteau
"I was playing PlayStation. He asked me how I was and broke the news and I was pretty stoked. I was playing golf and checking my phone constantly during the day and then I was pretty happy to get the call."
Taniela Tupou - call from Lote Tuqiri
"The whole day I was waiting for it. A new number came up on my phone and I was like here we are boys. C'mon this has got to be it. He said 'hey it's Lote, you're in the squad'."
James O'Connor - call from Tim Horan
"It was 6.33pm and I'd been up all day sweating it out. When I got the call I had no idea that's what it was. We started having a chat and then he had to hold me up and said 'you're talking too much, I'm calling you to let you know you made the squad'. I felt straight out joy. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face."
Samu Kerevi - call from Horan
"We were having a barbie at home with my whole family there for my little niece who just got a little award at school, so we were just sitting around. The phone rang and the whole family paused. I walked outside and had a chat and came back in and my whole family was ecstatic. He was the guy who called me when I made my debut."
MORE RUGBY NEWS
Izack Rodda - call from John Eales
"I was midway through birthday celebrations and I was eating a block of Turkish delight. That helped make my day even more special."
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto - call from Wycliff Palu
"It was a normal conversation. They must have given him a template of what to say. It was 7.30pm and I was getting worried. I was pretty buzzing when I heard him.
David Pocock - call from Rod McCall
"I had a really good chat to him. It was a really nice touch having a former player. It connects you to the past."
Allan Alaalatoa - call from Phil Kearns
"It was a huge honour to get that call from him. We both went to Newington [College] and he was fortunate enough to win a World Cup. He asked how I was and then told me I was going to represent my country at the World Cup. I had to sit down afterwards and let it all soak in. It's a phone call I've dreamt of."
Jack Dempsey - call from Simon Poidevin
"He used to do a bit of battling with my uncle [Tony Dempsey] back in the Gordon days. I grew up hearing war stories. It was pretty special, not only as a back-rower, but that family connection as well made it extra special."
Dane Haylett-Petty - call from Burke
"The first few calls I let through and then he texted me and said 'it's Matt Burke, do you mind calling me back'. We chatted about footy and he told me the news. I was so stoked. I loved watching him play."
Will Genia - call from Eales
"Mine was at 4.30pm. He's a good man. You always feel smarter for it. He always imparts some kind of wisdom onto you. It was pretty cool."
Matt Toomua - call from Joe Roff
"I obviously know him through the Brumbies, so it made the conversation go a bit easier. I was on the plane. He said, 'do you know what this is about?' I said 'I hope it's good news' and it certainly was."
Scott Sio - call from Bill Young (same as 2015)
"I didn't pick up the first time because it was a private number. It's just as special as the last time."
Tolu Latu - call from Kearns
"It was a number I didn't know and wasn't sure if I should answer or not. Luckily I answered it. I was pretty happy about that."
Other squad members
Rory Arnold - call from Harrison
Christian Lealiifano - call from Michael Cheika. Stephen Larkham was supposed to call but a message couldn't get to him in time (he is in Ireland) before others were told.
Folau Faingaa - call from Stephen Moore
Adam Coleman - call from Nathan Sharpe
Sekope Kepu - call from Poidevin
Marika Koroibete - call from Tuqiri
Isi Naisarani - call from Ben McCalman
James Slipper - call from Phil Waugh
Jordan Uelese - call from Waugh
Tevita Kuridrani - call from Roff
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