Jack Dempsey is itching to get at the Springboks
Jack Dempsey is itching to get at the Springboks Matt King

Jack's ready for a fight against wounded Springboks

RUGBY UNION: After emerging from a dark few months of injury, new Wallabies flanker Jack Dempsey vows to emulate his boxing namesake and stand toe-to-toe with the Springbok forwards in Bloemfontein.

The Wallabies play South Africa on the high veldt and Australia coach Michael Cheika is forecasting a fierce battle after the Boks were hammered 57-0 by New Zealand two weeks back.

"Retribution will be in the air, no doubt, and we just happen to be the next team in line," Cheika said.

South Africa will look their pack to deliver that retribution and Cheika will want his forwards to answer that challenge,

The 23-year-old Dempsey replaced Ned Hanigan on the blind side of the scrum after Cheika decided to give the 23-year-old an opportunity in the No.6.

Cheika said he liked Dempsey's aggressive streak and the young NSW flanker knows that's exactly what he must bring to help the Wallabies win.

"I'm definitely not here to be a playmaker or to call the lineouts. That's for the brainiacs in the team," Dempsey (pictured) said.

"He has told me where he sees me and what my role is and it's definitely in the shitters, in the contact and the dominant collisions. Attack and D, both of them.

"The Springboks are the epitome of that so that's a big challenge.

"I'm excited to come up against the Etzebethes, Kolisies, who are world class in that area, and showing them that I'm not far off them."

Dempsey's passport says "John Dempsey" but he was given Jack at birth by his dad after he spotted two black eyes on his baby son and thought of the famous American boxer of the 1920s, Jack Dempsey.

Dempsey said he had to develop the physical part of his game after coming through the ranks more known as a mobile, pacey flanker. He has bulked up to 110kg.

"I've always been a bit of a rangy player, jumping in across six, seven and a bit of eight," he said.

"Now Cheik has brought me in, told me to focus on six and eight, and with that comes the building of your physical side.

"I'm happy with where my body is now. I had a bit of a rough start to the year with injury but the last four or five weeks I really feel like I'm back to where I should have been at the start of the year."

Dempsey doesn't lack any confidence but he battled through a "disheartening" Super Rugby season after starting for NSW in the first four games before suffering a leg injury.

"I kind of missed a whole year of rugby, I only came back in the last two rounds of Super Rugby," Dempsey said.

"I was counting my lucky stars when I got picked in that June (Wallabies) squad but I knew I deserved to be there, with where I was. It was just a lack of game time

"But that's all behind me. I'm ready to rip in."