Timing the key for defensive beast Koroibete

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete says there’s a simple secret to his bone-crunching hits - it’s all about the timing.

Koroibete set the tone for the Wallabies backline in the physicality stakes in last weekend’s opening Ireland Test match, with a try-saving hit on Jacob Stockdale and a swift takedown of Conor Murray.

Overall, the speedster had 11 tackles in the clash, with his defensive strength one of his trademarks.

That he could burst out of the line to stop an oncoming opponent is a constant threat, but he said it was all about choosing when to go and when to stay put.

Koroibete is happy to be the one throwing his body around, and said it was something that certainly pleased coach Michael Cheika and defence mentor Nathan Grey.

Earlier in the week, teammate Dane Haylett-Petty spoke about the confidence Koroibete's hits spread through the team, and it's something the 25-year-old embraces. 

“It's what we spoke about during the week,” he said.


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“They want us to be more aggressive, I think it's something that I can bring on during the games, I can contribute, the boys can get advantage of that and hopefully keep working on.

“It's something (where) you have to get your timing right , if you missed, it would end up with a try,” he said.

“It's something you have to get your time right and especially let your centres know and whether to go or stay, but Cheik and defence coach Greysy loves it and if I know I can get him and stop the ball, (I go).”

His defensive moves are very evocative of rugby league and Koroibete said it’s something he has carried over from his Melbourne Storm days.

“It depends on the depth of the fullback, if it's a bit deeper, it's longer for me to go, I just have to wait,” he said.

“If I know I can get the timing right I have to go.

“It’s something I learned a lot from the Storm and coming here Greysy loves it and it's what I love as well.”

If the opportunity arises again in Melbourne, Koroibete will have no hesitation in stepping up to the plate again, and the Wallabies will be all the better for it.

The Wallabies take on Ireland in the second June Test in Melbourne on Saturday June 16, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.