Tui taking starting debut in his stride

International

Just four weeks ago, Lukhan Tui was playing a second grade club game against Logan City, now he is preparing for his first Test start.

Tui has played just three games for the Reds this season but worked his way into the 23, and now has earned his first Test start.

The 21-year-old made his way back from injury via club rugby last month, copping a big hit from a second-grade opponent, not knowing he would be wearing the Wallabies number six this weekend.

“I think it is funny, especially that video, pretty good hit,” he said.

“I still laugh at it now but it was good.

“Things happen and I'm lucky enough and blessed enough to be able to be given this opportunity by the coaches and especially by Cheik and the boys have welcomed me back into camp and they've been good.

 

🙏 @lukhantui feeling grateful for @wallabies starting role. #AUSvIRL

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“They've helped me out a lot and I've learned a lot off the backrowers especially, so looking forward to ripping in.”

“Nothing really changes for me, just come on, try to be physical, run the ball and hit hard is what I'll try and offer for the team. not nervous at all, just pretty keen to be honest.

Tui said a starting opportunity in a series decider didn’t change much for him, keen to build on his experience in the first two June Tests.

“For me personally, it just feels the same to be honest,” he said.

“I've been lucky enough to play the past two games against them and for me it just feels like a third game but obviously more's on the lie, the series is on the line and we're looking to get the win this week and hopefully we do."

The Wallabies were outmuscled in Melbourne and Tui said taking it to Ireland would be critical in Sydney.

“I think that's somewhere we want to improve, especially as forwards we want to take that physicality to another level and you look at the pack that we've got, we definitely can, starters and bench, in our whole squad overall,” he said.


Tui has started just once at blindside in Super Rugby, though he has come off the bench to play six for the Wallabies, and coach Michael Cheika said he had no reservations on picking Tui in the flanker spot.

“If I was concerned I wouldn't be picking the lad there,” he said.

“There's plenty of options for us to go with - he's played at six in the last two Tests for different periods. he played half a game last week and I think he handled himself pretty well there.

“He's got two experienced campaigners around him and he's full of energy and he's a confident young lad and that's what we want, we want guys who believe in themselves.”

 

 

The Wallabies take on Ireland in the third June Test, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.