Wallabies and Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio has revealed that the opportunity to work with Stephen Larkham played a key part in the fly-half committing to Rugby Australia for another two years.
Lolesio has rejected the lure of Japan to agree a new contract with the Brumbies and the governing body which will take him beyond the next World Cup, with the fly-half remaining in the country until at least 2024.
Legendary Australian pivot Larkham is set to return to the Canberra outfit and become their new head coach from 2023, and Lolesio is excited to learn from one of the game’s greats.
“With Bernie (Larkham) coming in next year I’m really looking forward to working with him and hopefully take my game to another level,” he said.
Lolesio had offers from overseas sides but the 22-year-old is content with the decision he has made.
“It’s been a long process but I feel very content in staying for the next couple of years,” he told reporters.
“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.”
The fly-half has starred in the Brumbies’ impressive season so far, helping them to secure an outstanding 10 victories from 11 matches.
They reside in second position in the Super Rugby Pacific table behind the Blues and have sealed three successive victories over New Zealand franchises, but Lolesio is not getting carried away.
“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.”
Although the Blues are at the summit, the Brumbies arguably face the toughest game of the campaign next week when they take on the Crusaders.
Having dominated Super Rugby since 2017, Scott Robertson’s men once again went into this season as title favourites.
They have had a few issues, however, and have surprisingly succumbed to three defeats in 2022, but Lolesio knows the quality that they possess.
“It’s always a good match up against the Crusaders,” he added.
“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.”