Returning NSW Waratahs backrower Jack Dempsey has been compared to former Tahs and Test captain Rocky Elsom by the current skipper of both those teams.
Dempsey on Saturday will play his first Super Rugby match in 19 months when he runs out in the unfamiliar No.8 position in the opening round clash with the Hurricanes in Sydney.
He's played in a competitive game more recently for Australia than his state side, after a hamstring injury sidelined him for the entire 2018 Super Rugby campaign.
Dempsey suffered the knock just prior to the Wallabies' 2017 spring tour and was out for almost a year before returning in the NRC last September.
He performed well enough to earn a spot on the Spring Tour on which he earned four caps, the last three as a starter in his familiar position of blindside flanker.
With Tahs coach Daryl Gibson wanting both Dempsey and fellow Wallaby Ned Hanigan as starters, he opted to name the former in the No.8 jersey and the latter on the flank.
"He (Dempsey) also brings that ball carry aspect to his play that we desperately need," Gibson said.
NSW and Wallabies captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper said he was pumped to see 24-year-old Dempsey back playing for the Tahs.
"He's really grown a nice combination with Ned in last week's trial," Hooper said.
"He's very explosive, and then some real finesse.
"He sometimes looks a bit like Rocky Elsom when he runs the ball, and he's got some on-field attributes with some of the skills that he can pull out that there really are some similarities there.
"What comes to mind though is his ball-carrying ability."
Asked if Dempsey was as kooky as the sometimes quirky Elsom, Hooper chuckled and said: " No, I won't judge there, but he's certainly great for our team on and off the field."
Although Hooper rarely misses a game unless injured, he welcomed the rotation and management of Wallabies players in a World Cup year.
"It's not playing on my mind, I think it's a really good thing," Hooper said.
Hooper wasn't concerned that he and several of the Tahs' other Wallabies stars including Bernard Foley, Israel Folau and Sekope Kepu, didn't play in either of their trials.
"We've made a really concerted effort to try and get our load right in training, get our physical level up in training," Hooper said.
"We've been doing a bit more contact in the weeks going in."
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