Terry Schatz has never listened to the mug punters. Not surprisingly, he's long contended that ''every team needs a Jake''. In his son, the Wallabies have one.
Jake Schatz's journey to the Wallabies has been one of hard work and heartache. He's largely unheralded outside Queensland but ranks as one of the most respected players at the Reds, as much for the strength of his character as his work in the forwards.
None of his teammates will ever forget the courage he showed in 2011 when he took the field in a crunch game against the Crusaders just days after burying his mother Alison, who died of cancer.
It was a selfless act that left an indelible mark on those around him, including Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie, who told Schatz on Monday that his Wallabies debut would arrive against the Springboks on Saturday.
''He's a very strong lad, who had the mental and emotional strength to play in one of the most important games of the season just after his mother passed away. You just can't ask for a better type of guy to play next to,'' said Quade Cooper, who was recalled to No.10.
If Wallabies supporters wanted some emotional starch in their squad in an era of misbehaviour and slipping standards, Schatz is their flag bearer. And on the football front, he's an adaptable back-rower who can cover all three positions, a fact he believes helped him edge out the competition.
''Probably being pretty versatile helped, I think. Playing all three back-row positions has given me a bit of an upper hand in that area. Coming off a good Super Rugby season always helps,'' Schatz said. ''It's been quite a week, I'll tell you that. Now I just have to get out on the field and put it together.''
On Friday night, Schatz won the Stan Pilecki Medal as Queensland's player of the year. A few days later, the Wallabies dream of the 23-year-old had been fulfilled, ensuring an emotional week for his beaming father Terry and the Schatz siblings.
''It's a great reward for hard work. He's not one of the out-there sort of people. He just goes about his job and it's a great reward for him,'' said Terry, a former player at Easts in Brisbane and coach at Sunnybank. ''I think there's a lot of mug punters that chase the fancy guys but every team needs a Jake. It's something that has been missing, I think.
''He's a tireless worker and I think he'll go well.''
Terry said he was immensely proud of how his son had carried himself through a heartbreaking period. ''That goes without saying. He does carry himself well. He does keep to himself a lot,'' Terry said. ''It was tough; it's still tough. His sister and brother go through the same thing. But it will be a huge week; an emotional week.''
A perception that Schatz is an undersized back-rower may have been a reason it has taken 50 games for the Reds star to force his way into Wallabies contention. But at 109 kilograms and 193 centimetres, he's hardly a pushover.
Schatz said adding five or six kilograms over recent seasons had given him the confidence to take on the biggest packs in Super Rugby and prepared him for the the next step.
''Absolutely. I think that comes with experience as well … Now I'm about 108 to 110 kilograms, depending on where I am in the season,'' Schatz said. ''You gain experience in that physical department. It's not just the weight but how to hit guys. You learn how to do it.''