Noah Lolesio dreams of conjuring his own John Eales moment after being thrust into the Bledisloe Cup cauldron for his Wallabies debut on Saturday night.
As well as being in the five-eighth hot seat, the 20-year-old will handle goalkicking duties for Australia at ANZ Stadium following Matt Toomua’s year-ending groin injury injured suffered in the Wallabies’ 27-7 loss in Auckland two weeks ago.
Far from overawed about assuming such responsibilities, Lolesio says he’d relish the chance to boot Australia to victory, just like Eales did in the 85th minute of the Wallabies’ unforgettable 24-23 win over the All Blacks in Wellington 20 years ago.
“Oh yeah, it would be awesome,” Lolesio told AAP.
“I’ve seen it. I don’t know if I was alive when it happened but I’ve definitely seen the footage.”
Eales’ trusty right boot, after taking the shot because regular kicker Stirling Mortlock was off the field, remains etched in Bledisloe Cup folklore.
“They’re the moments you train for,” Eales said.
“They’re the moments in the backyard as a kid … I kicked a hundred of those in the backyard trying to win a test for Australia.
“And I’m very glad it went over because people’s memories of me as a rugby player would have been very different if I had have missed that kick.”
While Eales’ successful penalty secured Australia the 2020 Bledisloe Cup series, New Zealand has held the trophy for the past 17 years.
A former Wallabies coach has urged Australian players to "take a stand against the haka" when they face the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney. #BledisloeCup #AUSvNZL https://t.co/zDFRQT0OUr
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 31, 2020
Lolesio, though, is one of several fresh faces in coach Dave Rennie’s Wallabies line-up not carrying any psychological scarring from more than a decade and a half of trans-Tasman beatings.
“It’s something that definitely drives me. I really want that Cup back here and I know everyone in this squad wants that cup as well,” he said.
“It’s definitely a driving factor.
“It’s very exciting long term to be part of this squad but, at the end of the day, we want to win now.
“Dave’s made it very clear that we want to win this Bledisloe and there’s no better way to do it than on home soil.
“That’s in the forefront of our minds and we can worry about the future after that.”
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