Rugby 2022: Wallabies look at silver lining to Noah Lolesio missed drop goal attempt Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content

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By Tom Decent

Brumbies and Wallabies playmaker Noah Lolesio says he’s determined to move on from the agony of missing a late drop goal in the Super Rugby Pacific semi-final, which he admits took him “three or four days” to get over.

With the Brumbies trailing the Blues by one point in the final minute at Eden Park, halfback Ryan Lonergan passed to Lolesio, who was 41 metres out from the posts.

Lolesio backed himself but the kick was brilliantly charged down by Blues prop Ofa Tuungafasi. Within seconds, the Blues had wrapped up the match.

“Rugby is a pretty fast-paced game and you’ve got to make decisions very quickly,” Lolesio told reporters from Wallabies camp on the Sunshine Coast ahead of the first Test against England next Saturday.

“[I was planning] for the drop-kick but I probably got the ball earlier [than I] expected. I didn’t realise anyone was in front of me. I back myself. I went for the drop goal and it got charged down, which sucked.”

Had Lolesio held on to the ball and the Brumbies marched up the field off the back of few more phases, it could have been a different story.

Noah Lolesio in consoled by coach Dan McKellar (inset) after his unsuccessful drop-goal attempt for the Brumbies.

Noah Lolesio in consoled by coach Dan McKellar (inset) after his unsuccessful drop-goal attempt for the Brumbies. Credit:Getty

“I’ve definitely learned from it,” Lolesio said. “If I’m being completely honest, it took me three to four days to get over [it]. I know it was such a big part of the game and I really felt like I let my teammates down, which is not what you want to do. I move on from that. The biggest thing I’ve learned in rugby is you’ve got to have a short-term memory when stuff like that happens.”

Brumbies teammate Nic White jumped to Lolesio’s defence, applauding the young No.10 for taking the gamble.

“In big moments like that, you want people like Noah wanting the ball,” said White, who is favourite to start at halfback for the Wallabies. “That was the biggest thing. You could see he wanted it. The last thing you want is someone going into that shell and be scared of those big moments. I thought it was a real positive. If it goes an inch higher and goes over the middle, the big fella is probably asking for another zero [on his next contract].”

Noah Lolesio goes about his business at Wallabies training on the Sunshine Coast.

Noah Lolesio goes about his business at Wallabies training on the Sunshine Coast.Credit:Getty

The big question: was the kick going over?

“Quade [Cooper] asked me if I hit it sweet and if it was going over,” Lolesio said. “I was like, ‘oh, yeah, surely’. I guess we’ll never know.”

Lolesio is in a three-way battle for the Wallabies’ No.10 jersey with Cooper and James O’Connor but is the underdog to make Australia’s XV, despite starting all three Tests against France this time last year.

“Quade and Rabs are both awesome players and we all have different strengths and weaknesses,” Lolesio said. “I’m just putting my head down and doing the work.”

Meanwhile, White has launched a charm offensive on England coach Eddie Jones, saying the former Wallabies boss is high on his list of blokes he’d love to go to dinner with.

England coach Eddie Jones faces the media on arrival at Perth Airport.

England coach Eddie Jones faces the media on arrival at Perth Airport.Credit:Bohdan Warchomij

Last year, White labelled Jones the “king of mind games” and said he’d love to pick his brain over a beer. Now White has dinner on his mind.

“If there’s one guy I definitely won’t be getting in a battle with, it’s Eddie Jones,” White said. “When they ask you who you’d love to have dinner with, he pops to mind straight away. I’d love to pick his brain. He’s obviously a mastermind.”

Watch every match of the July Test Series on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport. Kicks off Saturday 2 July with Wallabies v England, New Zealand v Ireland, South Africa v Wales and Argentina v Scotland. All streaming ad-free, live and on demand only on Stan Sport.

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