'Easy choice': Dave Rennie throws support behind Noah Lolesio

Mon, 05/07/2021, 06:11 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie speaks after announcing his side for the First Test against France.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie believes it was a no-brainer to go with young Brumbies fly-half Noah Lolesio for the first Test against France.

Lolesio is set for just his third Test and second start when he partners Jake Gordon on Wednesday at Suncorp Stadium.

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Despite having the experienced option of Reece Hodge and the option to shift Matt To'omua to play ten, Rennie backs Lolesio to step up to the mark.

“He’s a confident kid. He’s prepared to boss the big boys around,” Rennie told reporters on Monday.

“He’s got a full Super season behind him now, too. Last year, he missed about an eight-week block. He’s played a lot of footy and he’s played really well.

“His ability to play flat and on top of defences, he’s put a lot of focus on his general kicking game and his goal kicking has been excellent.

“He’s made big shifts there so it was a pretty easy choice.

“It’s a great opportunity for Noah, he’s excited by it. Certainly, the way he has prepared, we expect him to play well and be demanding of those around him.”

The decision to go with Lolesio was made easier with the absence of James O'Connor, who failed to recover from an ongoing neck injury.

“He struggled to respond quickly so we we’re clear from about Thursday that he wouldn’t make it,” Rennie said on O’Connor.

“We’ve just been gearing him up to come right in time for the second Test.”

Lolesio will partner Jake Gordon in the halves, who was selected over Tate McDermott for the starting role.

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When asked about the decision, Rennie admits the all-around skills of Gordon gave him the edge.

“We considered everyone obviously. What Jake has over Tate is core skills,” Rennie revealed.

“The quality of his kicking game, distribution. Jake’s a very good running halfback as well and was outstanding against the Kiwi teams, did a great job leading the Waratahs.

“Tate we know is electric off the bench and that’s going to be important against some hopefully tiring forwards.”

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