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Australia international Leroy Houston grateful for support from Bath team-mates

Published 09/10/2016

Leroy Houston, pictured, after winning his first cap for Australia in Saturday's 33-21 victory over Argentina at Twickenham
Leroy Houston, pictured, after winning his first cap for Australia in Saturday's 33-21 victory over Argentina at Twickenham

Leroy Houston has paid tribute to his Bath team-mates for helping him go from "down in the dumps" to a fully-fledged Test star.

Flanker Houston won his first Test cap as Australia edged out Argentina 33-21 at Twickenham in Saturday's Rugby Championship closer.

The 29-year-old became Wallaby number 901 in a second-half cameo, pulling on Australia's green and gold for the first time in almost 11 years.

Houston admitted he had feared his one appearance for Australia A against the French Barbarians in 2005 would prove his sole run-out for his country.

"It's an amazing feeling to become a Wallaby," said Houston, who will join Queensland Reds for the next Super Rugby season.

"I've aspired to this for a long time and honestly in my career I didn't think I'd get to this level.

"It's been a hard journey but I'm so happy to get the chance to run out with Quade Cooper and Michael Hooper, these guys are going to be legends of the game forever.

"When I left Australia to play club rugby in France that was the first time I ever questioned whether I was good enough to play professional rugby.

"To go from being in that frame of mind to running out at Twickenham to play Argentina for the Wallabies, that's why I've got such a big smile on my face.

"I was down in the dumps, and a lot of boys go through it, but look what came of it."

Houston's Bath team-mates Matt Banahan, Matt Garvey and Kane Palma-Newport headed to Twickenham to support the bruising loose-forward.

Banahan captured the day's experiences on social media, Houston's trademark smile lighting up a Twitter video as he arrived at Twickenham in the build-up to Saturday's contest.

Houston spent two seasons at first Bordeaux then Colomiers before three stand-out years at Bath from 2013 catapulted him back onto the Wallabies' radar.

The likeable back-rower was refusing to remove his Wallabies cap after helping Michael Cheika's men to their third victory of the Rugby Championship, and quickly tipped that hard-won hat to his colleagues and friends at Bath.

"It was awesome to see Matt Banahan waiting there when we arrived," said Houston.

"I asked those boys if they could come down and they jumped at the chance. It was not just Matt Banahan, it was Matt Garvey and Kane Palma-Newport too.

"I asked them if they could come down and see me and that was unbelievable.

"These boys are the reason I'm here. If I hadn't played for Bath, and played to my potential, with those guys around me, helping me, I wouldn't be here today.

"So I'm very thankful to them for that.

"I'll probably keep the cap on for a few days now. My old man's got a great set-up with my jerseys and things back home, so hopefully this will be framed at some point and go into that."

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