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Lolesio unfazed by semi-final heartbreak in pursuit of Wallabies return

Thu, 23/06/2022, 6:23 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Noah Lolesio pin point grubber for Tom Banks

Brumbies flyhalf Noah Lolesio has no regrets over his missed semi-final drop goal, adamant it won't affect his confidence in a push for a spot in the Wallabies side to face England.

Lolesio has had a wild 12 months since starting the first Test of 2021 against France.

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From two game-winning kicks to finding himself left behind for development reasons for the Spring Tour, the 22-year-old has experienced all the highs and lows in the wild rollercoaster that is Test Rugby.

This extended into Super Rugby Pacific, guiding the Brumbies to the semi-finals before a 79th-minute field goal to win the game was blocked.

Even though he admits he got the ball earlier than expected, Lolesio is ensuring it won't stop him from pulling the trigger in future scenarios.

“With that drop goal, I was planning in my head to take it but I probably got the ball earlier than I expected,” he told reporters.

“I had that plan in the back of my head and didn’t realise anyone was in front of me so I backed myself and went for it and got charged down which sucked.

“I’ve definitely learned from it and if I’m being completely honest, it took three or four days to get over because I know it was such a big part of the game and I really felt like I let my teammates down which is not a good feeling.

“I’ve moved on from that. The biggest thing I’ve learnt in Rugby is that I have to have a short term memory when stuff like that happened. I’m here now and that's all that matters.”

This was music to club teammate Nic White's ears, encouraging his young half to keep putting himself in game-winning situations.

“I think in those big moments you want guys like Noah (Lolesio) wanting the ball,” White interjected.

“I think that was the biggest thing is he wanted it and the last thing you want is someone to go into their shell and be scared of those big moments so I thought it was a real positive.

“If it goes an inch higher and down the middle, he’s probably asking for an extra zero (on his contract) so it’s important that a guy like Noah, he’s had plenty of moments like this and he keeps wanting the ball.

“We spoke about it after the game and it was all about it’s awesome that he wants the ball.

“You look at Michael Jordan, he missed plenty of game-winners but kept putting his hand up…if it comes down in that first Test, I’m sure Noah will be putting his hand up in the pocket screaming for it and give it to him at the right time with a wall in front of him.

“We learn but the most important thing is Noah wanted it and he’s got to continue wanting it and that’s what I love about playing with him is that he always wants it in those big moments.”

Lolesio is eager to compete with Quade Cooper and James O'Connor, with both players ending up as the starter for the Rugby Championship and Spring Tour respectively.

Whilst he's taking the chance to learn from both playmakers, he made it clear he's not there to make up the numbers.

“I never want to have that mentality I’m walking into a squad to hold a pad. I’m here to compete,” he added.

“We’re all here to put our best foot forward for competing which creates an awesome standard of training and we’ll put that onto the field too.

“Quade and ‘Rabs’ (James O’Connor) are awesome players and we each have different strengths and weaknesses but I’m just putting my head doing and doing the work and the best I can.”

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