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Highlanders targeted new Brumbies pivot

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Highlanders targeted new Brumbies pivot in Super Rugby wake-up call

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has backed rookie No. 10 Noah Lolesio to learn from a brutal induction to New Zealand opposition in Super Rugby.

Lolesio enjoyed a stellar start to his professional career with wins against Queensland Reds and Melbourne Rebels, but he struggled against the Highlanders in round three on Saturday.

The Kiwis put the 20-year-old under pressure, forcing Lolesio into several mistakes during the Brumbies’ heartbreaking 23-22 loss.

But McKellar said the Junior Wallabies star would only get better after he made several knock-ons, miss-kicks and a forward pass.

“He handled it well. He didn’t drop his bundle or anything like that, he’s at the start of his career and as I’ve said for the last few weeks, he’ll learn every game,” McKellar said.

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“Tonight was another learning curve.”

Lolesio was also praised by Highlanders coach and former All Blacks No.10 Aaron Mauger.

But the rival coach admitted they had targeted the young gun, who McKellar left on the park for the entire match.

“He’s an outstanding young footy player, it’s just harder being a young 10 in this competition,” Mauger said.

“You step up and learn how to be consistent week after week and you come up against stuff in Super Rugby you haven’t quite dealt with yet.

“We had plans around pressuring their kicking game and he’s obviously part of that, we knew the physical contest was going to be big and I thought we fronted really well there too.

“We put him under some pressure but I’m sure he’ll bounce back. He’s a good young footy player.”

The Brumbies face the unbeaten Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.

– AAP

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Highlanders targeted new Brumbies pivot in Super Rugby wake-up call
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