Wallabies: Noah Lolesio admits late inclusion helped his nerves against England

Dylan Coetzee

Noah Lolesio of the Wallabies during the first Test match of the International Rugby Test series between Australia and England at Optus Stadium in Perth, Saturday, July 2, 2022. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY ** STRICTLY EDITORIAL USE ONLY, NO COMMERCIAL USE, NO BOOKS **

Wallabies fly-half Noah Lolesio believes that being elevated into the starting line-up due to a late Quade Cooper injury helped calm his nerves.

Cooper was initially selected to start against England in Perth but pulled up with an injury in the warm-up, meaning Lolesio was required to start the game.

No time to be nervous

The Brumbies fly-half revealed he was surprised when coach Dave Rennie said he was starting and focused on giving his all in the match.

“I was pretty shocked when ‘Rens’ (Rennie) tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was starting. It was unfortunate for Quade, it would have been a tough call for him,” Lolesio said.

“To be honest I felt a lot more relaxed before I was told I was going to start. So I think that kind of actually helped, to be honest. I just grabbed it by the horns and tried to do my best for the team.

“Prepping for the game, obviously I go over my knowledge and my detail and then hoping I would get 10, 15, 20 minutes and then I got a tap on the shoulder that I was starting. It took me a while to find my groove in the game but I am just happy we got that win.”

Lolesio understands that at 22 years old, he is learning every time he takes to the field and a win like this helps with the pain of his poor decision-making in the Super Rugby Pacific semi-final.

“Obviously that semi-final sucked. My professional rugby career has been a rollercoaster and it is pleasing to know there is a bright side,” he said.

“I feel like I am learning every game to be honest. I am still so early in my career, I am 22, I am taking learnings wherever I can.

“I probably take some confidence out of that but at the same time I won’t be complacent either. I won’t just sit on my bum and applaud it. I know I have to be a lot better, especially in that first half, to put the team in a better position. But yeah, it is pleasing to know I have what it takes to put in a performance like that.”

Application of instructions

The playmaker said his team’s ability to apply instructions given by Rennie at the interval was key to their success, but the side needs to be better.

“Rens spoke to us at half-time about in attack just be more direct and be more dominant with our carry and clean, which gave us nice clean ball for the likes of Samu, Lenny [Ikitau] and Marika [Koroibete],” Lolesio said.

“It is pleasing to know when we got told a message at half-time we can do it in the second. But in saying that, we were far from perfect and we have to be a lot better next weekend.

“It is a three game series, we won the first one but we’ll park that and tomorrow we’ll review and preview the game thoroughly and put our best foot forward for Suncorp.”

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