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Australian schoolboy rugby star has no regrets over career path

By AAP
Murray Tuilagi and Jeremiah Nanai of Australia during the Kangaroos Captain's Run at AJ Bell Stadium on November 03, 2022 in Salford, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Queensland winger Murray Taulagi was recruited to rugby league while playing rugby union at school but has no regrets about his chosen path, despite catching up with two of his favourite Wallabies this week.

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Ahead of game two of the State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night the Maroons are in camp at Sanctuary Cove, where the Wallabies are also based and bunkered down under the tutelage of coach Eddie Jones.

In 2016 Taulagi was playing for Brisbane State High in union when former North Queensland recruitment chief Clint Zammit was watching. Zammit signed him to a three-year deal the next day. The rest is history, with the 24-year-old Cowboy now one of the game’s best wingers.

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Taulagi mingled with the Wallabies, including two of his former schoolmates, although there was no attempt to recruit him on this occasion.

“It was pretty special,” Taulagi said.

“I’m pretty fortunate to have a couple of mates in the Wallabies – Jordan Petaia and Samu Kerevi. They’re both from the same school (at Brisbane State High).

“I also played First XV with Jordan, so it’s always good to catch up with them.

“They’ve been pretty happy for me where I’m at, and I’m happy with how they’re going too.

“We have that pretty special bond where we always communicate to each other no matter where we are in the world.”

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Taulagi’s older brother is former Queensland Reds outside back Jamie-Jerry Taulagi but he said he had no desire to return to the game he grew up playing.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” Taulagi said.

“I am pretty happy where I am and won’t be going back (to rugby) any time soon.”

Taulagi can’t wait to rip in in his first Origin game at Suncorp Stadium after being forced to withdraw last year from the game three decider with COVID. He watched the Maroons’ 22-12 win from the team hotel in isolation.

“It was such a good feeling after that game though,” Taulagi said.

“I got a phone call from the boys after and was on Facetime. Big Paps (Josh Papalii) and Jeremiah (Nanai) called me.

“I was jealous. I wished I was there … but it is what it is.

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“Just being in the locker room and witnessing the atmosphere would have been something special.

“I am very fortunate to be given the opportunity to pull on the Maroon jersey and especially to be playing at Suncorp, so I’m very excited.”

Taulagi played in the 44-12 game-two loss in 2022 but experienced his first Origin win in Adelaide in game one this year when the Maroons prevailed 26-18.

“It just took a couple of days for it to really sink in after that win and we have moved past that now and are focusing on this game here. We’re taking it as nil-all,” he said.

“Right at this moment, we’re just worrying about ourselves and not the outside noise.”

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1 Comment
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Phillip 399 days ago

Good luck to him.
Now, maybe RA can use his as a case study into WHY he opted to switch to the 13-man game and has no ambition or desire to return. He clearly has good memories of his time in the game, and has connection to the game through friends who have succeeded. Is it just money? or is it something else?

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