Mature Lolesio primes for starting return after nightmare debut

Sat, 03/07/2021, 06:00 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The President's XV faced off against a Super W Selct side at Coffs Harbour International Stadium.

Wallabies flyhalf Noah Lolesio is primed for his return to the starting side with memories of his nightmare debut fresh on his mind.

With Wallabies stalwarts James O'Connor and Matt To'omua battling neck complaints, the Brumbies half looms as the most likely to be named in the ten jersey on Monday ahead of the First Test on Wednesday.

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The 21-year-old was rushed into the toughest task in World Rugby on debut, facing the all-conquering All Blacks as they inflicted a thumping 43-5 loss at ANZ Stadium.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Lolesio was eager to make up for his efforts in what would be his third international appearance.

“That's the million doller question...It’d be an honour to wear that number ten jersey, the last time I wore it, it wasn’t the best debut," he admitted. "I feel like I’m more prepared and I’d be very grateful to put on that jersey.

“It wasn’t a game to remember on my behalf and especially being my debut. It did take a couple of days to get over personally because I felt like I let myself down, my family and the country.

“I bounced back really quick after a couple of days and shrugged it off. I was pretty happy with how I bounced back at Suncorp when I came off the bench.

“That’s the one key learning that I’ve taken from last year. In this game, you’ve got to have a short-term memory because five days later, you are playing another Test match,” he believes.

“Obviously you have to review it thoroughly but at the same time too, you’ve got to move on."

The Rebels took on the Brumbies in the final round of the 2021 Super W season at Coffs Harbour International Stadium.

Entering his second Wallabies camp, Lolesio admitted he felt more comfortable after taking his game to another level in 2021.

“I’ve felt like I’ve dialled in really well with everyone, see some good old faces like Marika (Koroibete). I feel a bit more confident this year because I feel like I’ve matured as a footballer,” he said.

“I feel like I’ve matured in my game awareness, not playing too much structured footy and seeing where the momentum is. If we have momentum, keep hold of the ball. If it’s not going our way then how can we manipulate the backfield a bit more.”

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He praised the influence of former teammate and Wallaby Christian Lealiifano as he looks to follow in his footsteps.

“During the Super season, Christian Lealiifano, he always messages me checking up, after some games I’ll always ask for his advice because he’s been there and done that,” he revealed.

“’Bruzzie's has been a major role model for me as I go through my professional rugby career.”

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