June 01, 2017
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes Marika Koroibete’s natural talent makes him an imposing threat on the wing for this month’s International Test matches.
The 24-year-old Melbourne Rebels rugby league convert is set to make his international debut in the 15-man version of the game after he was named in Cheika’s 34-member Wallabies squad on Tuesday night.
Koroibete joined the Wallabies on their Spring Tour last year as a development player before he made his Super Rugby debut with the Rebels this season.
So far he has scored four tries in 10 Super Rugby appearances, including his first career Rugby double last weekend against the Crusaders.
“I think he’s done very well this year,” Cheika told Fox Sports after naming his team on Tuesday night.
“He’s learnt the game as it’s come on him and his positional game has progressed – you can see that he’s learnt very quickly.”
“Just having him on the tour, we took him in that development capacity last year, you can see the talent there.”
Koroibete has started all ten appearances for the Rebels after injury forced the powerful winger to miss the opening round against the Blues and Round 9 against the Sharks in Durban.
While Koroibete continues to learn the nuances of rugby, his prospect remains bright after settling into the code.
“He’s a good pro,” Cheika said.
“Being in the Melbourne Storm’s program has made him a very good professional so he knows what he needs to do to get right.”
“When you talk to him, he understands the things he needs to improve on but nothing can beat his out and out talent and speed.”
Koroibete was one of five Rebels included in the Wallabies squad for June’s three-Test series against Fiji, Scotland and Italy.
Prop Toby Smith, backrower Lopeti Timani, centre Reece Hodge and winger Sefa Naivalu will join Koroibete on national duty.
The five Rebels are expected to line-up against the Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra on Saturday night in the club’s final hit out before the international break.
Koroibete, Naivalu, Etonia Nabulii, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani and Samu Kerevi are the six Fijians in the Wallabies squad.
By Reginald Chandar