Seven Year Itch
July 14, 2011
Samo had a fantastic 2011 Super Rugby season and has forced his way back into contention for the Wallabies after a seven year hiatus © Getty Images
John Bentley Jamie Cudmore Mark Gerrard Josh Lewsey Radike Samo Gerrie Sonnekus Brad Thorn Kevin Yates
Following Radike Samo's remarkable recall to the Wallabies squad after a seven-year absence, Scrum Sevens trawls the archives to find some other international's who have had to wait a while in between caps.
Our final seven includes a player who had to wait nearly ten years for his second international cap and a New Zealand lock who plied his trade cross-code before returning to the All Blacks.
Kevin Yates - Nine years and 11 months
Prop Yates is the benchmark for waiting for his second cap. After making his debut as a young Bath prop for England during their tour of Argentina in 1997, the Canadian-born Yates looked to have a bright future in the red rose embroidered shirt.
However, Yates was soon thrust into the headlines after allegedly biting London Scottish flanker Simon Fenn's ear during a domestic cup game. He received a six-month ban and left Bath soon after to play in Super Rugby with the Hurricanes. Yates returned to England after his stint in New Zealand and spent three seasons with Sale Sharks and a further three with Saracens.
In the summer of 2007, Yates answered England's SOS following an injury to Nick Wood and was back in the England front row against South Africa on May 26, 2007, alongside hooker Mark Regan and tight-head Stuart Turner - the trio boasing a combined age of 104 years. The gap between the two caps is the current world record - nine years and 353 days.
John Bentley - Nine years and two months
British & Irish Lion and all-around good bloke John Bentley had to wait nine years and forty-four days between England caps. The star of the famous 1997 Lions documentary excelled on the Lions' tour to South Africa and scored a memorable try against Northern Transvaal.
However, 'Bentos' is widely recognised to have been unfortunate when it came to international recognition. He made his debut against Ireland in April 1988 and scored against Australia later that year but had to wait until July 1997 for his next cap, awarded under the tutelage of then England coach Jack Rowell. The cross-code international won the inaugural Premiership title with Newcastle in 1998 and is currently working with Leeds Carnegie.
Gerrie Sonnekus - Nine years and 10 months
No.8 Sonnekus, who appeared 104 times for the Cheetahs in the Currie Cup, was infamously picked as scrum-half in the Third test against the 1974 British & Irish Lions side. The game proved to be one of the most violent games of rugby ever played. Aptly named the 'Battle of Boet Erasmus,' the game consisted of two brawls engulfing all 30 players on the field. The Lions won the match 26-9, securing a 3-0 lead in the series, but it will be remembered for the uncompromising nature of the action.
Legendary British & Irish Lion captain Willie John McBride summed up the occasion saying: "I will never forget when the whistle went. The immediate reaction of the 15 guys on the field was to stand, applaud and acknowledge the 15 guys in the stand because we couldn't have done it without them. That epitomised to me what Lions rugby, what rugby football and all the great things in this game are about."
Sonnekus had to wait nearly 10 years to pull on a Springbok jersey again and reverted back to his familiar No.8 position against the 1984 England Test side.
Jamie Cudmore - Three years and nine months
Canadian lock Cudmore plies his trade for Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne and is one of the league's most effective enforcers in the second-row. However, Cudmore has managed only 21 appearances for the Canucks. Despite not playing for the national side since the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Cudmore has been named in Canada's final 30-man squad for the game's showpiece tournament which will start in September.
Club duties, injuries, suspensions and family issues have prevented Canada coach Kieran Crowley from selecting the 32-year old but Cudmore's appearance against Russia on June 8, 2011 ended a four year wait for Canucks fans to see their man in action.
Brad Thorn - Four years and seven months
All Blacks lock Thorn waited five years to earn his 13th cap after making his 12th appearance for the New Zealand side against France in the 2003 World Cup. Thorn originally plied his trade in rugby league for the Brisbane Bronco's, where he played in the State of Origin match, before making the switch to the Crusaders in 2001. Thorn earned his first Kiwi cap against Wales in June 2003 and in the process earned the distinction of having represented Australia at rugby league and New Zealand at rugby union.
Thorn chose to go back to rugby league a year later and linked up once again with the Brisbane Bronco's. Three years later Thorn reversed the decision and journeyed back to his familiar surroundings of Christchurch to play for the Crusaders. In June 2007, Thorn started against Ireland in Wellington earning his 13th cap in the process. Thorn now has 50 caps to his name and looks to be the first choice All Blacks second-row going into the forthcoming World Cup.
Gavin Thomas - Four years and 17 days
When Welsh flanker Thomas was selected for the game against Australia in Brisbane in June 2007, little did he know he would have to wait a further three years to add to his 22-caps. The former Bath flanker is currently plying his trade with Rabodirect Pro12 side Newport Gwent-Dragons and received a call-up to the national side to face New Zealand in June 2010.
His call-up, albeit fairly fortuitous due to Martyn Williams ruling himself out and Sam Warburton picking up an injury, was fairly remarkable considering he was discarded by the Scarlets the previous season. Thomas' comeback against the Kiwi's did not have the fairytale ending as his side lost 42-9. Thomas kept his place for the next Test the following week, but Wales again were defeated 29-10. It appears the 33-year-old will have to pray for further injuries in the Wales line-up to get his chance to represent the national side again after he was left out of Warren Gatland's 45-man training squad for the World cup.
Mark Gerrard - Three years 10 months
Wallabies fullback Gerrard has just been named in the same Australia squad as the aforementioned Samo. Gerrard's return to the national side is just as remarkable. He last played for the national side against Japan in the 2007 World Cup. After playing for the Brumbies for a couple of years he then opted to journey to the land of the rising sun to play for NTT Communications for two years in 2009. However, the emergence of new franchise the Melbourne Rebels was too tempting a prospect for the 28-year-old and he opted to travel back to his country of birth to play in Super Rugby once again.
Following a season where the Rebels did their best to establish themselves in Super Rugby, Gerrard performed amicably and clearly did enough to impress Deans. Gerrard will start against Samoa on Sunday for the Wallabies and will attempt to prove his worth ahead of first-choice option Kurtley Beale.
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