Melbourne halfback Ryan Louwrens has caught the eye of Wallabies officials after his blistering start to the Super Rugby season – thanks in part to Australian legend Will Genia.
Signed to the Rebels for 2020, Louwrens has already been sought out about his plans beyond the season, with the Wallabies No.9 jumper up for grabs.
The 28-year-old Louwrens was born in South Africa but moved with his family to Australia in his teens.
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If he does break through to the national squad, some of the credit will go to his childhood hero Genia, who he worked alongside at Japanese club Kintetsu Liners last season.
“I learned a lot off (Genia) in Japan – we ended up sharing the match time,” Louwrens said.
“He was very good in terms of helping all the No.9s and he’s been there and done that so he’s great to have around.
“He told me to rip in at the Rebels and back myself.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 22, 2020
Incoming test coach Dave Rennie has spoken of his desire to pick from the ranks of Super Rugby, putting Louwrens in a battle with the Brumbies’ Joe Powell, Waratah Jake Gordon and Reds’ youngster Tate McDermott.
Louwrens was one of the Rebels’ best in their breakthrough win over the Waratahs last round and is looking to back that up against the Sharks in Ballarat on Saturday afternoon.
He will have to do it without injured Wallabies five-eighth Matt Toomua (groin), with Andrew Deegan stepping in for his first start at 10.
“I was happy with my first start last round and hopefully I can continue to build on that and progress and have a good game,” Louwrens told AAP.
“Andrew has come in seamlessly; he’s a very good player and his communication is very good. He’s a similar player to Matt Toomua, he’s got a lot of flair and controls the game well.”
He said the confidence gained playing in Japan has been key to his return to form after his career stalled at the Western Force following ACL ruptures in 2014 and 2017.
“I think it’s staying injury-free,” Louwrens said. “I had some bad injuries while I was at the Force and it was about finding my confidence again.
“I found that in Japan, getting my running game back to where I wanted it to be.”
The Rebels beat the Durban-based Sharks on their last visit to Melbourne in 2018, their only success in seven matches.
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