Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has shot down Tom Banks' critics and says "I'm probably seeing something you're not seeing" in the fullback at Test level.
Questions over Banks' place in the Wallabies XV continue to rear their head and the agenda often follows a narrative that he has supposedly failed to own the No. 15 jersey, despite critics offering little as to what he needs to do to satisfy their appetite.
Rennie has shown he is not afraid to make changes after opting for 33-year-old flyhalf Quade Cooper over young gun Noah Lolesio.
After retaining Banks in his side to face the Springboks for Sunday's clash on the Gold Coast, Rennie was asked by a Brisbane-based reporter: Are you seeing something we are not or is there a lack of options?
"I'm probably seeing something you're not seeing if that's the case," Rennie said.
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"Tom, throughout the French series and early All Black games, was really strong. Very good under a high ball, he's got a smart kicking game.
"I think he missed a few opportunities last week, which are things we have spoken about. He missed a few opportunities to potentially turn the defence around, but we really rate him.
"He's got good gas, he's probably at his best when he is hovering around 10 or looking for opportunities back in and around the ruck. I know there's been talk about Hodgey [Reece Hodge] as well, he is definitely an option back there as well."
Hodge will come off the bench against the Springboks as the Wallabies scramble to keep their Rugby Championship hopes alive, but it is likely he will be utilised as a back-up flyhalf.
Jordan Petaia is the man more likely to provide cover should it be required across the back three, while also offering a midfield option from the bench.
Rennie is keen to see more ball in Banks' hands to unlock to attacking weapon so often seen at Super Rugby level with the Brumbies, where he is clearly a focal point in attack and looks lethal around the ruck, surging onto short balls and flick passes from the likes of Nic White and Ryan Lonergan.
"We've got to look after ball to go deeper into phase to create opportunities around there. He's found a little bit of space in and around there," Rennie said.
"We obviously want to see as much ball in his hands as possible. We've talked a lot about getting him in at first receiver on short sides. He's starting to pop up there.
"We rate him, he's a good man, an important part of our team."
THE RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday: New Zealand v Argentina at 5.05pm; South Africa v Australia at 8.05pm, Robina Stadium, Gold Coast.
Wallabies squad: 1. Angus Bell, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa, 4. Izack Rodda, 5. Matt Philip, 6. Lachlan Swinton, 7. Michael Hooper (c), 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. Quade Cooper, 11. Marika Koroibete, 12. Samu Kerevi, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Andrew Kellaway, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Feleti Kaitu'u, 17. James Slipper, 18. Taniela Tupou, 19. Rob Leota, 20. Pete Samu, 21. Nic White, 22. Reece Hodge, 23. Jordan Petaia.
Springboks squad: 1. Steven Kitshoff, 2. Bongi Mbonambi, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Lood de Jager, 6. Siya Kolisi (c), 7. Franco Mostert, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 9. Faf de Klerk, 10. Handré Pollard, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 12. Damian de Allende, 13. Lukhanyo Am, 14. Sbu Noksi, 15. Willie le Roux. Replacements: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Ox Nché, 18. Vincent Koch, 19. Marco van Staden, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Jasper Wiese, 22. Herschel Jantjies, 23. Damian Willemse.
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