'It was pretty tough': The Wallabies debutant looking to overcome horror Super Rugby season
Lalakai Foketi could be forgiven for wanting to erase the Waratahs’ Super Rugby season of misery from his mind.
Instead Foketi is already thinking about what he can bring to the Waratahs from his experience as a new member of the Wallabies squad for next month’s test series against France.
The 26-year-old centre admits he was shocked to get the call-up, fearing the Waratahs’ winless season may have counted against him.
“It was a pretty tough Super season so to get the phone call on Sunday was surreal,” Foketi said on Thursday from the Gold Coast where the squad is preparing for the opening test against France on July 7 at the SCG.
“I didn’t think it was going to happen – it took me by surprise.”
With intense 12-hour days at Camp Wallaby, Foketi says he’s soaking up knowledge that he can use to improve the Waratahs in 2022.
“The season we had is still in the back of my mind and once my duties are over with the Wallabies I want to go back and rectify what happened,” the Sydneysider said.
“If there was one thing I can take to the Waratahs it would definitely be when you’re there, you’re there 100 per cent.
“Being in this environment it’s professional 24/7 – everyone has to know everything about their role on the field and if you don’t you get left behind.”
The only dampener on his selection is that his NSW centre partner Izaia Perese was ruled out of the camp after dislocating his shoulder in their final round Super Rugby Trans-Tasman clash with the Chiefs and requires surgery.
“To see him get named was a massive credit to how he’s been going through the season, he was at the forefront of our team in making us go forward,” Foketi said.
“I’m gutted for him – sharing the field with him, he’s just a talent and I’m sure he will be here as soon as he’s ready to go.”
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