Tolu Latu was one of the Wallabies’ best in a heartbreaking loss to Ireland on Saturday night, but the hooker might not be starting when the Waratahs run out in Melbourne next Friday night.
Latu came off the bench in all three of the Wallabies’ June Series Tests and was influential in the series decider in Sydney, but his inclusion in the squad in first place was a surprise in itself.
Latu is highly rated in the Wallabies fold, but his work ethic has been questioned numerous times, leaving him out in the cold for much of 2017.
An injury for Rebels hooker Jordan Uelese opened the door for Latu to join the June squad and he hasn’t really put a foot wrong since.
The 25-year-old hasn’t started in any Super Rugby matches this season, sitting behind Damien Fitzpatrick, and has played a handful of games in the Shute Shield, as the Waratahs demanded he lift his workrate.
Latu admitted he wasn’t sure where he would sit in the Waratahs’ queue this week, but it didn’t worry him.
“To be honest, I'll probably go back and review the game from last night and see what happens from there and just go back to the Tahs and be positive and do what I can to help the team,” he said.
“If it's off the bench, not in the 23, whatever I can do.”
Latu has spoken about some honest truths that were delivered NSW coach Daryl Gibson that spurred his newfound form, and on Sunday said the perspective given to him by his Sydney Uni teammates was another critical aspect in his mindset shift.
“Just seeing those guys come in on a Tuesday and Thursday night, really enjoying their rugby and doing it not professionally but aspiring to do that and see the passion that they put in every Tuesday and Thursday night, rubbed off on me and put things in perspective,” he said.
“I've got it pretty easy doing this as a living, so those young blokes really inspired me.
“I was enjoying it but wasn't playing for the right reasons.”
The Waratahs take on the Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday June 29, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.