Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio admits he's more prepared to deal with the intense pressures attached to his rapid rise as he looks to re-establish his place in the Wallaby set-up.
Lolesio experienced all the highs and lows of International Rugby in the space of two months - twice the hero against France before finding himself out of the side following the Bledisloe Cup.
After initially missing selection for the Spring Tour, the 22-year-old was rushed over to Europe when the likes of Quade Cooper and Reece Hodge were unavailable.
Whilst the rest of his Wallaby contingency took the chance for a well-deserved break, Lolesio was quick to resume training before the Christmas break as he continues his development.
“I had a chat to Dan (McKellar) about my return to come back from the Europe tour before Christmas. Obviously, that was a last-minute call up so before Dan left we had a chat about what happens with me because I had already four weeks off so we both agreed it was best for my development to come a couple of weeks earlier,” he explained to reporters.
“Looking back at it now, I definitely think it was best for me…I don’t regret it at all, I’ve got a couple of weeks in the bank now and looking to get better now.
“I was all for it when I got the call-up to Europe. It’s Rugby, I’m living my dream so I can’t really complain about heading to see what Europe has to offer.”
Lolesio concedes he initially found it tough to deal with the spotlight that comes with playing for the Wallabies at such a young age, thrust into a starting spot on debut in 2020 during a thumping defeat to the All Blacks.
Now entering his third season, the flyhalf believes a shift in attitude will better equip him to deal with the pressure.
“It was definitely a big surprise to me,” he admitted on dealing with the spotlight.
“I’m learning ways now how to manage that and the pressure as well. At the end of the day, it’s just yourself in your head so I’ve had some great chats with the senior players, how they manage it and I guess it just comes with experience and years under your belt.
“I’ve been finding it difficult early on so hopefully I can manage it a bit better.
“You just have to accept it’s just Rugby, Rugby doesn’t define me. I used to think, especially my first year or two now coming into my third season that I’m just a Rugby player and that’s it. I need to keep reminding myself that there’s more things in life than just footy.
Lolesio is taking the lessons off the field as well, turning further attention towards getting his degree in teaching, as well as giving back to the community.
It helps foster and maintain the mindset that Rugby's simply a game to enjoy according to Lolesio, putting it all into perspective.
“I’ve just been trying to sort out my uni (to study teaching), I’ve been pretty slack in the last year,” he said with a smile.
“This year I’m trying to get back into that and doing some community work on my days off just to put things in perspective, if I’m struggling here, it’s not that bad in comparison to what other people are going through so I need to remind myself that.”