Wallabies big man keen to test mettle against Springboks
ADAM Coleman is remaining coy about whether he'll stay in Australian rugby until the 2019 World Cup or pursue overseas options, but the Wallabies lock is clear about at least one thing.
Coleman is very keen to butt heads with an imposing corps of South African locks when the Wallabies take on the Boks in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning (AEST).
In an often-changing second row for the Wallabies this year, Coleman - when fit - has been the only mainstay and his role of leading the team's lineout and physical tone will be crucial for Australia against an impressive crew of Springbok locks.
Boks captain Eben Etzebeth, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Lood de Jager all stand well over two metres tall and they made life difficult for the Wallabies in Perth by dominating the lineout.
Just as Nathan Sharpe and Dan Vickerman used to relish the chance to joust with Victor Matfield and Bakkies Botha, Coleman is excited about going head-to-head with South Africa's new breed of tall timber.
"I think that's Test footy. You always look at your opposite number and know they're the best in their country - I think that's part of the enjoyment of playing Test footy," Coleman said.
"You're literally going up against the best of what they have to offer and we are the best we have to offer and you go toe-to-toe. I think that's one of the enjoyments of Test footy."
The merits of Test rugby versus mountains of money from European clubs is something Coleman currently has on his mind.
With his beloved Force having been forced out of Super Rugby, Coleman can theoretically be granted a release from his ARU contract and after missing the big lock last year, cashed-up northern clubs are again circling with chequebooks at the ready.
The mooted Indo-Pacific competition may help on the money front, and the Melbourne Rebels are keen to sign Coleman, along with Dave Wessels and a big number of Force players.
Asked about his future, Coleman said: "In terms of me, personally, there is a lot of water to go under the bridge and I am just assessing my options at the moment.
"I love playing for the Wallabies and what I want to do, for this year, is play the best rugby I can, for my country.
"I think it's a great idea, the new (Indo-Pacific) competition, but like I said, I'm just assessing my options and I am really loving my rugby here at the Wallabies."
Coleman has been struggling with shoulder and rib complaints but he said he'd be "good to go this weekend".
"I've been a bit broken for a while," he said.
With the Boks' big men sweating them in Perth, the Wallabies' lineout only recorded a 63% success rate, and the lost throws hurt the hosts badly in terms of sustaining pressure.
It was an off-night in an otherwise good year, said Coleman. The Wallabies lost just one lineout against the Pumas in Canberra a week later.
Coleman is the Wallabies' enforcer but at lineout time he's also the brains, as the caller.
"It was one of the first lineouts that we had lost this year but I really just think we back ourselves and our set piece," Coleman said.
"We know the Springboks back themselves and they obviously have their systems but we feel like if we back our systems to the best of our ability and everyone does their role, we will get the outcome we want."
So vital has Coleman become to the Wallabies, it's easy to forget the 25-year-old debuted last year and has only played 15 Tests.
"It was only the last game in June that I was thinking to myself that I made my debut this time last year," he said. "It's crazy how quickly the year goes."