In the fifth instalment of our feature series, the Open Universities Australia (OUA) Dream XV, we caught up with Ben Alexander, 72 Test Cap Wallaby veteran.
Ben Alexander (Wallaby Number 824) made a record breaking 154 Super Rugby appearances for the ACT Brumbies over an 11-year span after playing for Uni-Norths Owls in the local Canberra competition. A Knox Grammar (Sydney) graduate, he transitioned during his playing career from loose to tight-head prop.
Ben’s current official title is Chief Energy Tracker @ Alfred, a personal energy tracking app that is about to launch. He is better known as the Co-Owner of The Dock, a bar on the Kingston Foreshore in Canberra.
The premise of the Dream XV is extremely simple; we have asked Ben to name a fantasy starting side, in their appropriate positions, of players he would love to play alongside.
He can select players he was able to call teammates, players he has come up against, or even players he admired from afar as a Rugby fan, and he can pick them based on whatever criteria appeals to him.
Ben Alexander’s OUA Dream XV
1. Benn Robinson – The ‘Fat Cat’! I grew up playing second-row behind him at club level and then had to scrum against him at representative level. There was a period where he was the best in the world. Just one of the most naturally gifted scrummagers.
2. William Servat – As big as a house and bigger than most props. He was the French hooker in the 2011 Rugby World Cup and I would have loved to pack a scrum with him.
3. Dan Palmer – Although he only played the one Test Match, he should have played plenty more but for injury crippling his career. He was the best scrummager I faced.
4. Brad Thorn – A guy I have a huge amount of respect for on and off the field, especially for his work ethic and mindset. The enforcer of the team.
5. Nathan Sharpe (c) – Great line-out operator, great ball carrier and all-round good bloke. A great leader and someone that really believed in you and inspired you to play better.
6. Jerome Kaino – Just unbelievable. A special mention to my former team-mate, Scott Fardy, the world's best un-natural athlete.
7. Richie McCaw – Great leader and tremendous competitor who simply personified dedication and commitment.
8. George Smith – Nothing he couldn’t do and an all-round legend. Anyone around Australian Rugby knows just how good he was.
9. Fourie Du Preez – A great player whose decision-making skills made the (South African) Springboks a 10 to 15-point better team. A real general of the team.
10. Dan Carter – Unbelievably talented, a student of the game and a great role-model. Never seemed to make a mistake.
11. Repeni Caucaunibuca – I never got to play against him thankfully! I saw him play at the 2003 Rugby World Cup and he was just so destructive!
12. Ma’a Nonu – A big ball carrier who refined his playmaking skills as he got older to be an even more difficult opponent.
13. Stirling Mortlock – I’m really grateful for the opportunity to play with Stirling and his guidance as a young player. He was fun to be around, tonnes of energy and a bit mad but knew how to switch on for footy. He could put his body on the line as a human missile. One of my favourite players growing up.
14. Mark Gerrard - When fit and firing there was nothing he couldn’t do. A world beater who we didn’t see at his best due to hamstring injuries. He could kick, he was a big ball-carrier and could play as a playmaker.
15. Leigh Halfpenny - His ability to cover the whole field on his own as fullback enabled Wales to defend with 14 men in the defensive line. He was everything you want in a fullback – good under a high ball, high workrate and a dependable kick.
We’ve spoken to some of Australia’s most-loved past players and asked them to nominate their Open Universities Australia (OUA) Dream XV. OUA, our official Education Partner, are helping Australian players’ off-field dreams come to life through their in their support of RUPA. OUA support RUPA and the players by providing multiple full scholarship opportunities every year, with current and former male and female players all eligible to apply.
OUA’s mission is to make studying at university possible for everyone, anywhere, at any time in their lives. They offer thousands of online subjects and close to 400 online degrees from over 20 leading universities.
They also enable their students to customise their university experience by selecting subjects from multiple universities, graduating with a qualification from the university where they studied the most. The flexibility of studying online also means OUA students can tailor their study load to fit around their availability and existing commitments. For more information, visit http://www.open.edu.au or phone 1300 513 044.