He may be one of Australian rugby’s next big starts but 20-year-old Brumbies fly half Noah Lolesio is set to start the competition’s grand final at GIO Stadium on Saturday night.
In the perfect setting to show he has what it takes, Lolesio has been returned to the No. 10 jersey despite having been out of the game since suffering a hamstring injury on July 18.
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Despite the long lay off, Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has brought the young superstar into the side to face the Reds in the all-important final.
It sees Bayley Kuenzle drop back to the bench as a part of four changes to the team since their last match of the regular season.
The last time Lolesio played.Source:Getty Images
Having taken out the minor premiership, the Brumbies were granted a place directly in the final.
But the side lost its last start against the Reds 26-7, although come into the club’s first home final since 2004 and with a six-year hoodoo in Canberra over the Reds.
McKellar said Lolesio deserved his place in the side.
“As a team we‘re really happy for Noah,” McKellar said.
“He was playing good footy before his setback, he‘s done a lot of work to get himself right and trained very well over the last two weeks. We’ve got full confidence and belief in his ability.
“To be able to play a home final in front of our family and our supporters is something we set out to do at the start of this competition and we can‘t wait for that opportunity.
“We‘ve prepared well over the last two weeks and we know the Reds are going to be a huge challenge on Saturday night but it’s one we’re looking forward to.”
Noah Lolesio is set to show what he’s got on Australian rugby’s biggest stage.Source:AAP
Lolesio had been named in new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s first squad in charge, having had a rapid rise from the Junior Wallabies last season to the main squad this season with a hope to push past veterans James O’Connor and Matt Toomua.
“Noah was in great form prior to injury then you’ve got young Will (Waratahs fly half Harrison) snapping at their heels,” Rennie said when announcing the side. “Hopefully they’ll learn a lot off those more experienced guys but the idea is that they’ll put pressure on to get a starting jersey.”
He will face off with O’Connor in the final against the Reds.
BRUMBIES: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga‘a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Murray Douglas, 5. Cadeyrn Neville, 6. Lachie McCaffrey, 7. Will Miller, 8. Pete Samu, 9. Joe Powell, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Andy Murihead, 15. Tom Banks
Reserves: Connal McInerney, James Slipper, Tom Ross, Nick Frost, Rob Valetini, Nic White, Bayley Kuenzle, Solomone Kata
QUEENSLAND REDS: 1. JP Smith, 2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa, 3. Taniela Tupou, 4. Angus Blyth, 5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 6. Liam Wright, 7. Fraser McReight, 8. Harry Wilson, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. James O‘Connor, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Hamish Stewart, 13. Hunter Paisami, 14. Jordan Petaia, 15. Jock Campbell
Reserves: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Ruan Smith, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Angus Scott-Young, Moses Sorovi, Bryce Hegarty, Jack Hardy
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