Noah Lolesio trains with the Wallabies.
Snubbed for the 2023 World Cup, Noah Lolesio has recommitted to Rugby Australia and the Brumbies. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby union

Re-signed Lolesio stakes claim for Wallabies No.10 role

Jacob Shteyman June 12, 2024

Playmaker Noah Lolesio admits he considered giving up on Australian rugby at the start of the year, but a stand-out season with the ACT Brumbies has convinced him to commit his future to the Wallabies.

The 24-year-old on Wednesday signed a contract extension keeping him with the Brumbies and Rugby Australia until the end of 2025.

It was a much-needed boost for the code on the same day incumbent Wallabies No.10 Carter Gordon announced his switch to the NRL with Gold Coast.

After falling out of favour under former national coach Eddie Jones last year, Lolesio is back in contention for Wallabies selection as new boss Joe Schmidt prepares to name his first squad in June.

 Lolesio (right) has impressed while steering the Brumbies to another Super Rugby semi-final. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS 

The skilful five-eighth says he is a changed player and person after a challenging couple of years.

“If you would’ve asked me at the start of this year what I’ll be doing, I’d be 50-50 on staying or leaving,” Lolesio said. 

“It was a real gut feeling for me to stay one more year and I’m just really enjoying my time, especially at the Brumbies.”

After his snubbing during the Wallabies’ dire 2023 World Cup season, Lolesio spent a transformative three months in French rugby with Toulon.

“It’s probably the most critical experience I’ve had so far in my rugby career,” he said. 

“Last year with the Wallabies, stuff didn’t go my way. But I believe everything happens for a reason and if I did make the Wallabies last year, I probably wouldn’t have gone to France and Toulon.”

Lolesio credits the French lifestyle with putting rugby into perspective, helping him grow on and off the field. 

“I’ve tried to take my approach from France back to here at the Brums and really loosen myself up, just enjoy it and not put so much pressure on myself,” he said.

A semi-final win over the Blues on Friday at Auckland’s Eden Park would show how far Lolesio has come in the two years since an Ofa Tu’ungafasi charge-down denied him a match-winning drop-goal in the same fixture in 2022.

His form this Super Rugby Pacific season makes him impossible to ignore. 

Lolesio boasts the competition’s second-highest points tally (140) and his goal-kicking accuracy of 84.1 per cent outstrips Wallabies rivals Ben Donaldson and Gordon, whose defection to league boosts Lolesio’s case even further.

 Lolesio has again shown his value as a goal-kicker. Image by Aaron Gillions/AAP PHOTOS 

Lolesio was coy about his national team prospects, but was full of praise for his “hard-working” potential future coach Schmidt.

“I’ve heard nothing but good things about him,” he said.

“But throughout this whole season, I haven’t really thought about that at all. 

“I’ve put all my energy and focus into doing the best job for the Brumbies and just trying to enjoy myself, because when I enjoy my footy, that’s when I tend to be playing my best.”

Stephen Larkham, Lolesio’s coach at the Brumbies and one of the Wallabies’ finest No.10s, had no doubts about his young prospect’s readiness to resume a role with the national team.

“We’re absolutely rapt that he’s staying” Larkham said. 

“He’s been an outstanding player for us this year and he’s certainly put his hand up for higher duties and I think we’ll see that at the start of the international season.

“He’s someone that gives a lot of players around him confidence. 

“He’s got a really good handle on the way that we want to play and he’s got a really good skill set.”