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'I was pretty shocked': Lolesio open up on late call-up after latest 'rollercoaster' outing

Sun, 03/07/2022, 3:07 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies hosted England in their first international of 2022.

Wallabies flyhalf Noah Loleiso has praised the faith put him in by coach Dave Rennie after he was suddenly thrust into the starting side during their 30-28 victory over England.

Lolesio was preparing to come off the bench before Quade Cooper pulled up sore during the warm-ups, appearing to tweak his calf.

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This saw the Brumbies playmaker given mere minutes to prepare, delivering a brilliant performance to get the hosts home.

“I was pretty shocked when ‘Rens’ gave me the tap on the shoulder and said I was starting,” Lolesio told reporters

“It was unfortunate for Quade. I know it would’ve been a tough call for him but I just grabbed it by the horns and tried to do the best for my team.

“To be honest, I was a lot more relaxed before I was told I was going to start. I think that helped actually. I was prepping for the game and going over my knowledge and detail, hoping I’d got 10-15 minutes and then you get that tap on the shoulder saying your starting.

“It took me a while to find my groove in the game but at the end of the day I’m just happy we got that win."

Lolesio admits the presence of club team-mate and scrumhalf Nic White helped calm any nerves, making the chaotic situation 'normal'.

But for the 22-year-old, chaos feels like normal.

It was just over 12 months ago Lolesio's intercept and clutch kicking pulled off a similar win against France to claim that series, having lost Marika Koroibete inside five minutes.

Coupled this with his missed drop goal a month ago and Lolesio has experienced the highs and lows of a seasoned veteran in such a short time.

“I think every game I’ve played for Australia has involved a red card or yellow so I can take some confidence out of that," he believes. "At the same time, I won’t be complacent and sit on my bum and applaud it because I know I have to be better in that first half to put the team into a better position.

“It’s pleasing to know I have what it takes to put a good performance like that together.

“I feel like I’m learning every game to be honest. I’m still so early in my career, I’m only 22 and I’m taking learnings wherever I can, willing to learn off anyone like Quade or Wisey (attacking coach Scott Wisemantel).

“Obviously that semi final sucked and my professional Rugby career has been a rollercoaster and it’s pleasing to know there’s a bright side.

“It’s pleasing to know (Dave has faith in me). Dave’s an awesome coach and a great man and I have full faith and belief in everything he says, I’m just very privileged that he backs me but in saying that, I have to put the work in for him to do that."

Lolesio's boot proved the difference, nailing two conversions from the sidelines as a late flurry from England made the final score closer than it should have been.

It's a nice change for Wallabies fans, so used to the boot of Owen Farrell breaking hearts as the sharpshooter missed a penalty and conversion from arguably easier positions than the 22-year-old's efforts.

Even after his perfect performance from the tee, Lolesio admits they need to find another level if they wish to close out the series at Suncorp Stadium.

“I wouldn’t say it was a perfect performance. I’m just doing the best for the team,” he said.

“With the goal kicks, I’m just trusting my process no matter what circumstance I’m in and I’m just happy it came off well off the boot.

“...In saying that, we were far from perfect and we know we’ve got to be a lot better next week.”

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