Tantalising Tui ready to tackle the world's best

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika sees Lukhan Tui as a damaging option at both lock and blindside flanker and the debutant himself knows no other way to play.

There is little doubt Tui's game as a lock would be easily transferrable to the backrow, given his greatest asset, without question, is his ability to bend the line with every touch of the ball.

"Coming from a league background, all you do is carry the ball," Tui said.

"I have made that transition to rugby, I enjoy carrying the ball and wherever I play, I will always look to try and get my hands on the ball last much as I can.

"Whether I play at lock or at six, that won’t change, I’ll keep looking to carry."

While he is relishing the challenge of mastering a new position, Tui admits there is plenty of work to be done.


"I do like the way the No. 6 plays but I have only just started training there the week before in Canberra and this week," he said.

"Hopefully I can learn it as much as I can, it isn’t a position that I’ve played so the whole thing is pretty new to me.

"I won’t know what it takes to be a quality six until I play some actual footy there.

"But in and around training, learning different roles and adapting to the change is something that I have enjoyed.

"I will just be trying to become comfortable in that position - that’s something very important for me."Lukhan Tui has had a breakout year. Photo: Getty ImagesThe 21-year-old also shared his thoughts on the physical challenge that awaits the Wallabies at Free State Stadium.

"Any South African team, whether it be Super Rugby or international, you know what you’re going to get," Tui said.

"Real big, physical pack that don’t like to take a backward step.

"We are just going to have to match that and we have harped on it throughout the week.

"We just have to be smarter and be more physical than them."

On the eve of his Test debut, Tui said he is starting to feel like he belongs.Tui believes he is ready to go toe-to-toe with one of the biggest packs in the world. Photo: ARU Media"It’s slowly starting to feel like that," he said.

"I put that down to the boys making me feel comfortable, grabbing me and showing me the ropes and what to do, what to know and how to learn things.

"I am really hoping younger players around myself like Izack, who I have played footy with for a few years now, I hope it does make it a bit more comfortable because we can relate to each other.

"He has Test experience as well now so I ask him a few questions and he helps me out, shows me what I need to know.

"There’s a good balance of youth and experience and it’s really good - it’s a really good step forward for Australian rugby."

The Wallabies take on the Springboks in Bloemfontein on Sunday morning, kicking off at 1am AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.

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