Fancy footwork a new addition to Koroibete's repertoire

Rugby World Cup
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete says extra focus on his agility is the secret behind some of his scintillating tries in 2019.

Koroibete scored a sensational try for the Wallabies against Georgia last weekend, scooping up a loose offload from Tolu Latu and weaving his way through the defensive line to score.

It was evocative of another Koroibete try, against Samoa in Parramatta, in which he danced around a host of defenders to notch a try.

While he has always had plenty of gas, Koroibete’s footwork has been the staple of some memorable moments this season and he said that was no coincidence

“We've been working a lot with Dean Benton he's been helping the outside backs with certain things that I know that we can improve on,” he said.

“He's been helping a lot with our agility and our footwork before contact and change of direction.

“And I think it's been transferred to the field. Hopefully we will see more this week.”

Koroibete appears a lock to line up on the left wing in Saturday’s quarter-final, one of the Wallabies' best throughout 2019, but exactly who will be running on the other edge is a more intriguing question.

Teenager Jordan Petaia has started the past two weeks on the wing while Reece Hodge is available for the first time in almost a month after his three-match suspension ended last weekend.

Dane Haylett-Petty and Adam Ashley-Cooper are also options to go into that spot or come off the pine as utility players.

Koroibete said all of that group had a case for being picked against England.

“Hodgey's back this week and there's been a lot of competition there,” he said.

Reece Hodge is available for selection this week. Photo: Getty Images“Dane Haylett-Petty has been constantly playing well as well. It's up to the selectors tonight and for the team selection.

“Jordy's been doing well for the last couple of games.

“He's been coming out early these days, prioritising his hamstring, so hopefully you know we can have him again this week but that's really up to the selectors.

England will bring their own threats on the wing in Saturday’s quarter-final, with Jonny May a particularly dangerous prospect but Koroibete said Australia couldn’t be too preoccupied by that.

“Obviously they have got a lot of big bodies there (and) like Johnny May with like the speed,” he said.

“This week we didn't focus much about the way they are going to play, we focused more on what we are going to do to stop them and what we can work on to combat what they are going to bring.”

The Wallabies travel to Oita on Wednesday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s clash with England.

Australia play England in a Rugby World Cup quarter-final on Saturday October 19, kicking off at 4:15pm local, 6:15pm AEDT, LIVE on Foxtel, Network Ten and via RADIO, Rugby Xplorer and Amazon Alexa.