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Ikitau ready to back up breakout season

Mon, 24/01/2022, 2:25 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Ikitau makes light work of the Springbok defence

Brumbies and Wallabies centre Len Ikitau admits he's itching to return to the field despite coming off a shortened pre-season.

Ikitau has been back at training for a fortnight with the squad since his well-deserved break after a breakout 2021, which saw him become a Wallabies regular.

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This included two weeks in quarantine after returning from the Spring Tour, leaving him self-admittedly still trying to build his fitness ahead of another major season.

Despite this, the 23-year-old is eager to feature in their opening Super Rugby Pacific trial on January 30 against the Waratahs.

“It’s my second week back so I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the boys and coaches. The boys are ready to rip in against the Waratahs and hopefully we get the opportunity to play," Ikitau told reporters last week.

“For me, it’s all about getting the metres into the legs and the contact part of it back. I know I will get back to that level by the start of round one but at the moment, I’m chipping away at training and putting my best foot forward.

“I’m just trying to get the body right before another big season.”

This comes with the knowledge there will be plenty of players gunning for spots in the backline after the arrival of several new faces, including former Wallaby Chris Feauai-Sautia.

It reflects a stark contrast to 12 months ago when Ikitau was looking to cement his own spot in the side following the departure of Tevita Kuridrani, having started just twice before the 2021 season.

With a near-full Wallaby backline returning to the nation's capital, Ikitau recognised the importance of building combinations whilst continuing to improve in order to stave off competition. “For us, it’s about building those combinations. There’s a lot of good players in the squad like Chris (Feauai-Sautia) and Hudson (Creighton) here as well as new boys who are going to put their best foot forwards and help with the depth of this team," he believes.

“Chris I’ve been watching him at the Reds for a while now. I played against him in NRC in 2017 and he’s a hell of a football player. For us to get him at his best will be good for the club.

“There’s a lot of Wallabies in that backline but if you’re not performing, you don’t deserve the opportunity to play and I feel like the boys are putting pressure on each other to be at their best and hopefully get picked, it’s good competition."

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