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Former Wallaby Will Genia calls for changes after 'failing to fire' in Sydney

By Sam Smith
Jasper Wiese of the Springboks is tackled by Noah Lolesio during The Rugby Championship match between the Australia Wallabies and South Africa Springboks at Allianz Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Former Wallabies halfback Will Genia says young No 10 Noah Lolesio must be held accountable after the performance in Sydney ‘failed to fire a shot’.

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The Springboks bounced back in a fiery test match that they took control of almost from the opening whistle as the Wallabies failed to control the breakdown, territory or their own discipline.

As a result, the Wallabies halves pairing of Nic White and Noah Lolesio found it difficult to get the Wallabies into the right areas of the field and both players were guilty of coming up early errors and misjudgements themselves.

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The No 10 playing in his 12th test was substituted from the action early in the second half, just two minutes in after the Springboks scored a key try to flanker Franco Mostert.

In his column for The Roar Rugby, the 110-test No 9 called for changes including axing of the 22-year-old playmaker despite believing in the Brumbies’ flyhalf longer term.

“We failed to fire a shot at all. It’s not as if there were good passages or moments of rugby. We were poor in all areas…” he wrote.

“That falls heavily on your playmakers.

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“From Noah’s perspective I genuinely back him. He’s a quality player and will continue to grow.

“But the nature of that defeat means people need to be held accountable.”

Genia said it was more about what Lolesio didn’t do than what he did do, as he failed to really identify the right moments to take on risk and make plays.

His tendency to ride in the backseat for too long was one of the reasons that the former Wallaby No 9 needed to be one of the changes made ahead of the Bledisloe Cup tests.

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“What you will get are one on one matchups and you’ve got to be brave enough to identify that and take a gamble on it, rather than sit back and let the forwards carry, or shift the pressure to someone else and wait for a perfect picture to inject yourself in the game,” he wrote.

The young flyhalf had one kick land into touch on the full and another ended up with the Springboks penalty on a blocking call against Andrew Kellaway.

Lolesio’s night was made all the more difficult by the mess at the breakdown as the Wallabies failed to control the ruck under pressure from the Springboks pack.

Things went from bad to worse for the Wallabies backs as inside centre Hunter Paisami left the field with concussion and did not return, resulting in an all sorts backline with nearly every player out of position.

Reserve scrumhalf Jake Gordon came on to play wing, fullback-wing Andrew Kellaway ended up playing at 13 with centre Len Ikitau moving in one to 12, and starting fullback Reece Hodge took over the reigns at 10 and wing Marika Koroibete played fullback.

Genia called for Reece Hodge, who he said can deliver a simple game plan, or 71-test veteran Bernard Foley to be considered for the All Blacks tests.

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