Koroibete's first start worth the wait

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Marika Koroibete's first start in Wallaby gold was well worth the wait.

The flying Fijian has been nurtured by coach Michael Cheika since he made the switch from the 13-man game, taking him on last year's Spring Tour before picking him in June and again throughout The Rugby Championship.

The clash with Argentina marked his debut but it was his performance in Bloemfontein, in his first start, which showcased the kind of player he could be for the Wallabies.

There were two clinical finishes from Bernard Foley passes, astute defensive positioning when the Springboks had the ball in their own half and bone crunching when they threatened the Wallabies line.A week after earning his first cap, Koroibete put in a stellar shift against the Springboks. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"He (Cheika) has been telling me what to work on if I want to get in the team, and I worked hard on it. I asked a lot of questions," Koroibete said."He is a smart man. He has made me more hungry to get an opportunity and now I finally got a start with the Wallabies."

While being so close to a Test berth for so long would have been enough to deter some but it simply made Koroibete want a taste of Test rugby even more.

"It made me more hungry," he said.

"Knowing I had to earn my spot in the team and work hard - that's the mentality I had.

"Nothing about whether I had made the wrong decision. I just had to work to get in the team.

"There have been a few wingers there who have been better than me so I just had to give it a crack, and give all I got for the Wallabies."Koroibete put together two trademark finishes on the wing. Photo: Getty ImagesThe downside in Koroibete's fantastic first start?

The fact that he had to displace great mate Henry Speight.

"Yeah, he's a good fella," Koroibete said.

"He has been helping me since the Spring Tour.

"I feel a bit bad, I took his position.

"But he has been tipping me a lot and at halftime he had some tips for me."

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