Koroibete to push World Cup case against Argentina

The Rugby Championship
by Emma Greenwood

Marika Koroibete has been sleeping like a baby since his early arrival back from Wallabies camp in South Africa - but that's just the problem.

Like his new son Isaiah, Koroibete has been waking up every three hours and challenged even his jet-lagged teammates in the red-eye stakes when he rejoined them in camp in Brisbane this week ahead of Saturday's Test against Argentina.

The Rebels winger delayed his arrival in camp in South Africa ahead of the opening match of The Rugby Championship so he could be with wife Emma for the birth of their second son and when he was overlooked for selection, was released to spend time with his family ahead of the Brisbane Test.

"(I've got) two boys (now), I'm very happy. When I wasn't selected in the team I asked if I could come home and give my wife a hand back at home," he said.

"It's good now to be back in camp." 

 

It's time the rugby league convert has been grateful for and is ready to repay the coaching staff with a busy effort if named for the clash against Argentina on Saturday.

The Wallabies were without a specialist winger in South African and while both Dane Haylett-Petty and Reece Hodge were solid, Koroibete brings genuine pace - and two years after he switched codes, a better understanding of the intricacies of rugby.

"I've learnt a lot. When I came on in 2017, I was more 'just play the game'. Now, I understand the game more than the last couple of years, knowing how to work smart instead and extend my energy in a game," he said.

"All players want to work hard but to work smart you are picking the right time to be effective not just running around for the sake of it, for the GPS. 

"Since I switched to rugby and I've been learning week in, week out. I'm always trying to pick up my game and I've been working with Dean Benton on my speed, power and pace and hopefully I get a chance with the Wallabies to show the potential that I've got."

With coach Michael Cheika looking to find his best combinations ahead of the World Cup, Koroibete is likely to get a run against Argentina.

While he may not have the aerial ability of the taller Hodge and Haylett-Petty, the Wallabies will look to capitalise on Koroibete's speed and power.

The 26-year-old is aware of the stakes.

 

"It's a big year with a lot of competition and I just want to get a chance I'll definitely give all I've got," he said.

The former Melbourne Storm player could not say whether he was now as comfortable in rugby as he was in league, although working with now Wallabies attack coach Shaun Berne and experienced playmakers Will Genia and Quade Cooper at the Rebels had helped complete his transition.

"I understand the game a bit more, I know what I need to do in my position more," he said.

"Shaun is a former player, he's genuine, honest, straight forward, he's specific on your roles and will get into you as well. That's good for me."

The Wallabies host the Pumas at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday July 27, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on Network Ten, Fox Sports, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

Buy tickets here.