Sydney University Football Club halfback Jake Gordon made his long-awaited Wallaby debut when he ran on against Italy in Padua on Sunday morning (AEST).
Australian coach Michael Cheika selected Gordon in the run-on side, with regular halfback Will Genia coming off the bench late in the match which Australia won 26-7.
Gordon became SUFC’s 106th capped Wallaby, and 128th Australian representative, joining club mates Folau Fainga’a, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley, Tolu Latu, Nick Phipps and Tomas Robertson in the Australian ranks in 2018. The Club also had Emily Chancellor and Grace Hamilton in the Wallaroos ranks this year.
He also became the third SUFC junior to advance to Test ranks, following in the footsteps of Fainga’a and Latu in progressing through Canterbury Juniors and SUFC Colts.
Having grown up in Newtown, Gordon was a regular at University Oval as a youngster. He made his debut for the Students as a 17-year-old while studying for the HSC and cracked first grade four years later, in 2015.
He enjoyed a stand-out 2015 season in the Shute Shield and with the Sydney Stars in the NRC, and was invited to train with the Waratahs as part of their extended playing squad.
His good form continued in 2016 when he was awarded the Michael Griffin Cup as Players’ Player at SUFC and backed that up with the NRC Players’ Player, as voted by his peers, at the annual RUPA Awards.
In 2017 an ankle injury to SUFC teammate Nick Phipps saw Gordon make his Super Rugby debut against the Lions in Johannesburg. Then, with Phipps still laid low by injury and only a handful of Super Rugby games under his belt, Gordon was called into the Wallaby squad for the trio of June internationals although at the end of the 2018 Ireland series he had yet to make his Test debut. That all changed last Sunday morning.
Gordon was a member of the SUFC’s 2018 Shute Shield premiership side, which atoned for a loss to Gordon in the season decider in 2016.
“Unbelievable,” he said of the 45-12 win over defending premiers Warringah at North Sydney Oval. “There were five of us who were in 2016 side who were unlucky not to get the win. To go through it with the same five and win it and also with the other guys (was great),” he said.
With 29 Super Rugby caps for the Waratahs and a Test cap under his belt, the 2019 World Cup in Japan is now on his radar.