'Falling in love with myself': Folau Fainga'a ready for Wallabies comeback after wake up call

Sat, 04/09/2021, 04:33 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie, inside centre Samu Kerevi and hooker Folau Fainga’a have spoken to media from Perth this afternoon.

Wallabies hooker Folau Fainga'a admits he was forced to re-evaluate himself as he prepares to return in the third Bledisloe Test in Perth.

Sunday's Test, which doubles as the second round of the Rugby Championship, will mark the 26-year-old's first appearance in gold in 2021.

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Across their initial camp and the France series, coach Dave Rennie selected six hookers in his squad - none of which were Fainga'a.

This comes despite the Brumbies stalwart featuring in four Tests last year, starting the first Test under Rennie in October.

Fainga'a told reporters this was the wake up call he needed as he took advantage of injuries to re-earn his spot in the side.

“I was just falling in love with myself,” he admitted.

“I was inconsistent throughout the Super year and it bit me in the backside. I’ve put my head down and worked hard and I’m grateful I got called back into the squad and I’m making the most of the opportunity.

“It wasn’t a word from Dave I just had a proper lock at myself in the mirror.

“I was getting too comfortable with myself and put myself in situations that weren’t really going to happen.

“It hurt not being called into the French series. I had to have a proper look at myself and go away to chip away at things that I had to work on.”

Whilst Brandon Paenga-Amosa has been the preferred choice for the first two games of the series, Rennie revealed the initial plans always had the Brumby starting such was his impressive attitude and training.

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Paenga-Amosa was eventually ruled out with a neck injury, replaced by Lachlan Longeran, who started ahead of club team-mate Fainga'a in the Super Rugby AU grand final.

“It’s no secret we had four hookers and Folau wasn’t one of them. He got an opportunity through injury and he’s trained really well,” Rennie said.

“We’ve asked to get more out of him certainly training wise and he brings really good physicality and a strong set piece.

“He’s earned the right with the way he’s trained over the past 3-4 weeks and we were very close to picking him at Eden Park.

“It’s a credit to him. He’s made really good shifts physically, shown that throughout his performance and we expect to see that put on the field come Saturday.

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