Koroibete not expecting a Wallabies game

Date published: October 28 2016

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Controversial Wallabies recruit Marika Koroibete is among a 32-man squad set to depart for Europe.

Koroibete says he doesn’t expect to play a Test on the Wallabies’ spring tour but is still keen to impress his new coaches.

The rugby league convert is among a 32-man squad set to depart Sydney on Friday for the national side’s unique grand slam tour of Europe.

The former Melbourne NRL winger was sensationally selected by coach Michael Cheika despite not having played a Super Rugby match.

Koroibete on Friday denied he was guaranteed a seat on the plane by Cheika, despite letting slip last month in an interview during the NRL finals series.

“He didn’t promise me anything,” Koroibete said on Friday at Sydney Airport.

“I’m not expecting a game. I’m just expecting to train as hard as I can, try to impress the coaching staff and see how I go from there.”

The 24-year-old admits the switch in code will be a difficult task, having not played a game in the 15-man code since before leaving Fiji in 2010.

“It’s really hard coming from NRL straight to the Wallabies. I haven’t played a game since high school. This will be a big challenge for me,” he said.

“This tour is all about me learning as much as I can and we go from there. I’ve been watching rugby since I was young (but) it’s changed a lot now.”

Assistant coach Stephen Larkam said Koroibete’s priority would be fitting into the squad and learning the shapes and structures of the game.

However, he also recalled how a young Matt Giteau also scaled the heights to a Wallabies tour with little Super Rugby experience under his belt.

“And he turned into one of the greats of the game,” Larkham said.

“(Koroibete) certainly has got that background of rugby union and it’s not much different when you’re playing on the wing in rugby league to rugby union.

“There’ll be a few more patterns and slight changes from set pieces that he’ll probably have to get his head around but I think fitting in with the guys first and then just getting that opportunity is all he needs.”

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