Koroibete development accelerated by Wallabies nod

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Marika Koroibete has had limited opportunities on the wing for the Rebels this year but Tony McGahan expects him to flourish at the next level.

When he is afforded clean ball, Koroibete is still as destructive as he was throughout his Melbourne Storm career but he has, at times, quietly expressed his frustration with team staff at the limited number of opportunities.

Given that he has gone from playing on the end of well oiled machine to a spluttering Rebels attack, even Koroibete's coach can understand his frustration.

"It's been difficult to be a winger in our group so far," McGahan said.

"But the growth Marika is getting just at training and certainly in games is about the off the ball stuff.Marika Koroibete has warmed into his rugby this year. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We know on the ball he's strong and the more opportunities he gets in that is going to be fantastic."

McGahan hit the nail on the head in his assessment of the Fijian.

While he may be Australian rugby's most accomplished finisher, he has struggled with the transition from playing on a rugby league wing to a rugby union wing.

"It's the off the ball stuff," he said.

"When to go to breakdowns, back three positioning, cover lines, first phase setups.

"Those sort of things are the real critical parts of his development and we've seen really good growth there.

"That will only continue to get better inside a Wallabies environment."

McGahan was additionally pleased with Toby Smith's selection in Michael Cheika's squad.

Smith has returned from a hamstring injury in recent weeks and hasn't missed a beat.Toby Smith hasn't missed a beat since returning from injury. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"I think you underestimate as a prop, the loading positions that a prop goes through across many facets of the game," McGahan said.

"To have surgery, come back and get back to play - unfortunately we had to put him straight back in because of the depth and he has performed exceptionally well.

"To get himself back on the Wallaby radar is a pretty good reflection of Toby.

"He's a really quiet guy that just goes about his business but he has a huge appetite to do well, a huge appetite to get better and a huge appetite for the team aspect of playing."

The Rebels take on the Brumbies at GIO Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 7:45pm, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and on radio at RUGBY.com.au.