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Noah Lolesio comes of age in win over Springboks

By AAP
Noah Lolesio. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Noah Lolesio has staked a claim on the Wallabies No 10 jersey with coach Dave Rennie describing his performance in their Rugby Championship win over South Africa as excellent.

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The 22-year-old turned in his best showing in 13 Tests in gold, steering the Wallabies to a 25-17 victory over the world champions in Adelaide.

Lolesio had a hand in each of the three tries with Rennie praising his game management in the Saturday afternoon clash.

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“We’re really happy for Noah … we had confidence that he could do the job and I thought he was excellent,” Rennie said.

“We talked a lot about playing flatter and playing on top of the offensive line and smart kicking options and so it was good to see that from him today.”

Lolesio hadn’t played since a below-par showing in Australia’s third Test loss to England in Sydney and admitted he was nervous heading into the Springboks clash.

While Quade Cooper is sidelined through injury, fellow playmaker James O’Connor was cut from the squad after failing to impress in their heavy Test loss to Argentina.

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“I’ve been through a shaky couple of weeks for myself after that English game and I probably took three, four weeks to have a solid look at my game and how I wanted to approach it,” Lolesio told Stan Sport.

“I was a little bit nervous heading to this game to be honest but as soon as I found out I was playing, I tried to do everything in my will every day to put up the performance that not only I deserve, but the whole country deserves as well.”

Asked whether the Brumbies ace had done enough to start at five-eighth next week in Sydney, Rennie hinted he was likely to be retained ahead of Bernard Foley.

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Rennie also singled out another young buck in Fraser McReight, who has taken over at flanker in the absence of captain Michael Hooper who has stepped away for mental health reasons.

McReight scored a try in each half and also saved one with a crucial breakdown turnover as the Springboks were on the marc h to the tryline.

“Fraser has really grabbed his opportunity on the back of good work done in front of him,” Rennie, referring to the Wallabies pack, said.

“Hell of an effort for a young seven to get a double and he got his hand on a bit of pill post-tackle so good performance from both men.

“We talk about earning the right to wear the jersey and they did that today.”

– Melissa Woods

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