Tessmann rises to big time
Tessmann rises to big time

Western Force hooker Heath Tessmann is in line for a shock Wallabies call-up for next month's Test against South Africa at Patersons Stadium two years after he was on the verge of quitting Australian rugby.

Coach Ewen McKenzie faces a hooking crisis with Force rake Nathan Charles the latest to join the injury list of Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Tolu Latu.

Queensland's Saia Fainga'a was called into the squad as the third hooker behind Charles and James Hanson for the last Test against the All Blacks, but with Charles out McKenzie needs another replacement.

It would be a huge boost for the popular Tessmann, who was released by the Melbourne Rebels in 2012 and was looking at a move to France when Force coach Michael Foley invited him to pre-season training.

There were no guarantees but then Charles and Ben Whittaker were injured and Tessmann became the starting hooker. He has now made 38 Super Rugby appearances.

McKenzie arrives in Perth with the Wallabies on Sunday and will monitor Tessmann when Perth Spirit play Brisbane City that day in the National Rugby Championship at McGillivray Oval.

Several Force players will line up for the Spirit including centre Kyle Godwin, who will make a return after four months out with a knee injury.

He has twice been on the verge of Wallaby selection before being hit by injury. Last year he needed a shoulder reconstruction and missed the European tour, this season he was ruled out after damaging his left knee against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The home-grown 22-year-old said he had been humbled by McKenzie's interest but international selection was far from his thoughts.

"Right now I'm struggling to even get a spot in the NRC, so that's my first priority," Godwin said.

"I'm just focusing on getting back and playing a bit of rugby. It's been a long time coming.

"I've had a bit of bad luck in terms of a few injuries over the years. Hopefully I can put those behind me."

Godwin said the Spirit's 28-23 first-round NRC win over the Vikings demonstrated the gap between Super players and club players was closing.

"The odds were against them (Perth) and to come away with a win was unbelievable," he said.

The West Australian

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