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'Best winger in the world': Koroibete praised after win over Boks

By Sam Smith
Marika Koroibete of the Wallabies prepares for the 2nd test between the Wallabies and France at AAMI Park on Tuesday July 13, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Copyright Photo: Morgan Hancock / www.photosport.nz

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Wallabies star Marika Koroibete has been labelled “the best winger in the world” by Rugby Australia [RA] director of rugby Scott Johnson following his efforts against the Springboks last weekend.

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Koroibete was one of the standouts for the Wallabies has they shocked the South Africans to romp to a second successive Rugby Championship victory over the reigning world champions in Brisbane.

The 29-year-old exemplified his top-class finishing ability by scoring two tries in the 30-17 win at Suncorp Stadium, but it was his work ethic off the ball that caught the eye of Johnson.

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A clip shared on social media in the wake of Australia’s win illustrated Koroibete’s high work rate after he packed down for a scrum as a blindside flanker in the absence of the sin-binned Lachlan Swinton in the first half.

The Springboks cleared the ball from the set piece and spun it wide and gained about 25 metres as the ball worked its way from the scrum on the right side of the field to the hands of Makazole Mapimpi on the left wing in one sweeping move.

As the Springboks attacked, Koroibete is seen detaching from the scrum and sprinting from one side of the field to the other to arrive just in time to help initiate a successful counter-ruck over the top of Mapimpi to win the ball back for the Wallabies.

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It was that kind of effort from Koroibete that Johnson spoke highly of while talking to the Sydney Morning Herald.

“When I first came back here, I had watched him overseas, but he was more rugby league than rugby union,” he said.

“Now, you see the skills that he possesses – the long passes, the kicking – and his work rate on the weekend was nothing short of phenomenal.

“Any aspiring young winger that wants to see a role model of what’s required in the professional game, look at his game.”

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Johnson added that, on the basis of his current form, there is no other wing in world rugby that he would pick over Koroibete in a World XV.

“On form, he’s the best winger in the world. I think he is. We’re always seeking World XV players, and he’d be in a World XV right now.”

Johnson’s comments were echoed by RA chairman Hamish McLennan, who said Koroibete will depart Australia to take up his new four-year deal with the Saitama Wild Knights in Japan as a Wallabies great.

“Obviously, he wants to look after his family, but he will go down as one of the Wallabies greats. We definitely want him back one day,” McLennan said, as per the Herald.

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'Best winger in the world': Koroibete praised after win over Boks

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