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Wallabies pivot Noah Lolesio rejects Japan to re-sign with Rugby Australia

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

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Wallabies playmaker Noah Lolesio has put an end to speculation about a move to Japan by inking a new contract with Rugby Australia [RA].

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Lolesio has re-signed with RA through until the end of 2024, ending rumours of a possible move to Japan, where he was the subject of a reported seven-figure offer from at least one League One club.

However, the 22-year-old has opted to remain in Australia as he continues to push for further opportunities at test level.

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“I’m really grateful to be able to re-sign with Rugby Australia and the Brumbies,” Lolesio said in a statement released on Monday.

“Achieving some of my goals, like representing the Wallabies, has been a dream come true, but I’ve still got a lot of things I want to achieve in both a Brumbies and a Wallabies jersey.

“Being part of a great group at the Brumbies with guys I’ve been playing with for a long time is something I value highly and off the back of training well, and putting in good performances, getting the opportunity to be a part of the Wallabies setup is amazing, so I’m just stoked to be staying.”

After making his Wallabies debut against the All Blacks two years ago, Lolesio has gone on to play in nine tests, playing a key role in Australia’s 2020 Bledisloe Cup win over New Zealand in Brisbane, and their three-test series win over France last July.

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Regarded as the third-choice Wallabies first-five behind veteran duo Quade Cooper and James O’Connor, Lolesio is well-placed to succeed those two as the next cab off the rank following next year’s World Cup.

Lolesio could yet feature at that tournament in France, but while his place in the World Cup squad is far from confirmed, his retention by RA provides the Wallabies with depth in one of the most crucial positions in the team.

It’s unsurprising, then, that Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie is more than pleased by Lolesio’s decision to stay put rather than chase money abroad.

“We’re thrilled Noah has re-committed to Australian rugby for another two years,” Rennie said via a statement.

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“He’s a confident young man, whose developing composure under pressure is evident at both Super Rugby and test level.

“His skillset continues to improve, and we believe him staying in Canberra and Australian rugby is going to be the best place for him to realise his potential.”

Likewise, outgoing Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar was similarly excited by Lolesio’s contract extension, which means incoming boss Stephen Larkham will still have the franchise’s star man at his disposal upon his return to Canberra next year.

“It’s fantastic for the Brumbies to have Noah locked in,” McKellar, who will leave the Brumbies to join Rennie at the Wallabies as an assistant coach on a full-time basis after this year’s Super Rugby Pacific, said.

“Noah’s a player of tremendous potential, he’s developed well in our program and everyone at the Brumbies believes he’ll only continue to get better as he gets more and more time in the saddle.

“Retaining him was a high priority for everyone involved in Australian rugby so it’s an exciting day for the club and a no doubt a proud day for Noah and his family.”

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