QUEANBEYAN Whites prop Leslie Makin continues to tick all the boxes in his quest to gain a shot at the Super 15 with the ACT Brumbies.
Makin arrived back in Queanbeyan on Monday having spent the past three weeks representing Australia at the Under-20s World Championships in South Africa.
The 20-year-old was one of two Whites players to compete at the tournament alongside Bungendore product and Australian Sevens regular Lewis Holland.
And while Australia saw its title hopes ended in the competition’s group stages, Makin said he had returned from the championships a significantly improved player.
“My game has improved a lot since the start of the tournament,” he said. “It’s given me a lot more confidence in what I can do and hopefully I can bring some of that back to the Whites.
“The level [of play] over there was pretty hard but I felt like I was up to it. I was able to match up physically and the speed of the game wasn’t that bad.”
Makin was one of Australia’s most consistent performers at the championships, starting in three of the side’s five matches.
Despite having previously missed out on being part of the Australian Schoolboys program, Makin has been on the Brumbies radar for a number of years.
And the softly-spoken front-rower now looks set to spend his upcoming offseason training with the Super 15 outfit.
“At the moment I’m just looking to finish off the season with the Whites but hopefully I’ll get a chance later this year to train with the Brumbies,” he said.
“I’ve already talked to the [Brumbies] Academy coaches about whether I’ll be able to train with [the Brumbies] full time during the offseason and they seem really keen for me to do it. I think that might already be set up so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The son of a Samoan mother and a Canadian father, Makin is the nephew of Samoan rugby international Seilala Mapusua and the cousin of Wellington Hurricanes lock Jack Lam – himself a former Queanbeyan representative.
Makin was originally invited to train with the Brumbies last year before work commitments intervened.
“It was disappointing not being able to take up that opportunity at the time but I was between a rock and a hard place,” he said. “I’d just started my new job so I didn’t have much choice…sometimes you’ve got to make sacrifices.
“Hopefully I will get another opportunity this year and it’ll all work out.”
The news has been less positive for Holland after the Australian Sevens star was forced to return home early from the championships with a torn hamstring.
The injury looks set to keep the 19-year-old out of action for the Whites for at least the next month although the club is hopeful the young flyer will be fit for the John I Dent Cup finals.