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Noah Lolesio reveals why he spurned Japanese offer to stay at Brumbies

By AAP
(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

The prospect of working with Wallabies five-eighth great Stephen Larkham has helped convince rising star Noah Lolesio to re-commit to the Brumbies and Rugby Australia.

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The 22-year-old shunned massive overseas offers to sign on for next year’s World Cup campaign and beyond, extending his contract until the end of the 2024 season.

Lolesio has nine test caps but leads the next generation of Wallabies playmakers following veterans James O’Connor and Quade Cooper.

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Lolesio has helped steer the Brumbies to second on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder this season and said he felt he owed it to the side who invested in him straight out of school.

“It’s been a long process but I feel very content in staying for the next couple of years,” said Lolesio.

“It was a very tough decision but I feel like it’s the right one.

“I just love the club – coming out of school, I was pretty unknown and the Brumbies gave me the opportunity and I definitely feel like I owe to the club to stay here for a couple more years.”

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Larkham is returning from overseas as head coach of the Brumbies next year, with current mentor Dan McKellar taking up a full-time role with the Australian set-up.

Larkham held the Canberra role between 2014 and 2017, with the team qualifying for the finals in each of those seasons while he also won Super 12 titles with the Brumbies as a player in 2001 and 2004.

Lolesio, who has made 29 appearances in Brumbies colours, was intrigued to see what Larkham brought as a coach.

“With Bernie (Larkham) coming in next year I’m really looking forward to working with him and hopefully take my game to another level.”

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Lolesio was also encouraged by the recent results of Australian Super Rugby Pacific teams, with the Waratahs joining the Brumbies in having success against their Kiwi counterparts.

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“We’re not going to carry on too much saying that we’re the world-beaters at the moment because we need to have consistent results,” he said.

“But it’s heading in a good way, Australian Rugby, and especially for us Brumbies, we’re just just taking it week by week.”

After accounting for three Kiwi teams – the Highlanders, Hurricanes and Chiefs – in the last three weeks, the Brumbies host the powerhouse Crusaders at GIO Stadium on Friday night.

After a shock loss to NSW the Crusaders flexed their muscles with a commanding 53-15 win over the Western Force last round.

“It’s always a good match up against the Crusaders,” the five-eighth said.

“Last year we just lost (31-29) in the final minute and I’m sure this Friday won’t be any different.

“We know they have threats all over all over the park so we really need to be on our a game.”

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