The surprise contender for Wallabies' No.10 jersey
SPOTLIGHT: He can feel the hype but Brumbies young gun Noah Lolesio is doing his best to stay cool after emerging as a genuine contender for the Wallabies’ No.10 jumper.
Man of the match in the Brumbies’ 31-23 Super Rugby AU win over Melbourne Rebels on Saturday, Lolesio is firmly in Dave Rennie’s sights after earning a spot in the new national coach’s “player of national interest” squad.
“I don’t want to think about it too much but it’s pretty unreal to cop a call from the Wallabies coach,” Lolesio told AAP.
“I’ve had a good couple of chats with Dave Rennie. He’s really impressed and he’s loved the fact that younger guys are pushing for spots against the older guys.
“He just said keep performing well this season and hopefully I can get a spot in the squad.”
With veterans Bernard Foley and Christian Lealiifano opting to head overseas, 52-Test star Matt Toomua is the frontrunner for Australia’s vacant No.10 jumper.
But with a penchant for pinning his faith in youth, Rennie is keen not only on 20-year-old Lolesio but also Waratahs flyhalf Will Harrison, a fellow member of the Junior Wallabies side that lost the 2019 under-20s world cup.
“You can’t really ignore the noise. I just acknowledge it but I don’t read into it too much,” Lolesio said.
“It’s there but my focus is always the Brumbies and always will be my No.1 priority.
“It’s awesome getting the acknowledgement but it can go in a second so I’m just keeping my feet grounded.”
Lolesio outpointed Toomua at the weekend, making a series of clean breaks and also landing some clutch conversions at GIO Stadium.
“I’m just doing my job for the team. I don’t think I overplayed my hand too much,” he said.
“There’s still bits and pieces I can still improve in with game management but, overall, I thought I did my job well for the team and that’s all I can ask for.”