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Thread: What Western Force prop Pek Cowan did to get noticed by Michael Cheika

  1. #1
    Senior Player
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    What Western Force prop Pek Cowan did to get noticed by Michael Cheika

    Western Force prop Pek Cowan made an executive decision six weeks ago that a few things needed to change.

    He decided to kick his fitness training up a gear, refuse to accept mediocrity and go out of his way to be more of a "prick" on the field.

    The result?

    An unexpected call-up to Michael Cheika's Wallabies training squad, three years after Cowan was last involved in the Australian set-up.

    "I felt like for a few years I was treading water and I was happy being where I was at," Cowan told Fairfax Media. "Within that six-week block I did my own stuff by myself for the last part of the Super Rugby season. That's obviously paid dividends because [Cheika] has realised it. My performances reflected the work I have done.

    "My mindset has also changed. Instead of being a good loser – especially with the Force not having great seasons and not great consistency – it's just trying to win everything and being ruthless and not making friends on the field.

    "Especially the Rebels and Tahs boys. They would say I was a bit of a prick on the field and that's because I wanted to win. Mentally, I've just flicked the switch."

    While Cowan, 31, is a new face in the Cheika era, he is a familiar figure in Australian rugby.

    Cowan made his debut for the Wallabies in 2009 against Italy under captain George Smith, when Robbie Deans was coach. He came off the bench in two more Tests that year – against South Africa and New Zealand – and featured in one-off matches in 2010 and 2011. He was overlooked until he chalked up five Tests in 2014 off the bench. But he missed the spring tour in what was Cheika's first coaching assignment with the Wallabies.

    Now back in the Wallabies environment, Cowan says an unlikely Test recall would be more special than when he first burst onto the scene.

    "It would probably mean more because of the change of attitude I had," Cowan said. "You always want just one more Test. Whenever you look forward and try and count how many Tests there are left in the year … you get too far down the track.

    "Every time I've come back in it doesn't feel like it's been that long. [There have been ] a lot changes within that time. I've seen the last three coaches. I had Robbie [Deans], then Link [Ewen McKenzie] and now I have been lucky enough to be selected by Cheik. It's a bit of a yo-yo."

    Cowan played his first game for the Force 11 years ago and since then has notched 132 matches as a hard-working prop.

    The West Australian franchise has a strong contingent of nine players in the Wallabies squad, reflecting their improved performances this season.

    Although a fair portion won't break into the match-day 23 for the Bledisloe Cup opener on August 19, Cowan said his focus was giving everything he had to impress Cheika.

    "Cheika just mentioned the last six weeks that I've come along well," Cowan said. "I have to make sure I'm pushing myself the whole time.

    "If I feel comfortable within a session, deep down I'm not working hard enough, or I'm not challenging myself. It's up to the individual to push themselves.

    "If my performances keep going the way they are, I think it comes down to who is best on the day."

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  2. #2
    Senior Player Macattack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Good stuff Pek, absolutely love the attitude.

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