September 22, 2021
Rugby Australia [RA] director Scott Johnson has labelled Fijian cross-code Marika Koroibete as the best winger in the world.
This is after the Fijian winger dotted two tries for the Wallabies to surge to a 30-18 victory over the Springboks and reclaim the Mandela Challenge Plate on Saturday.
Koroibete was one of the standouts for the Wallabies as they shocked the South Africans to romp to a second successive Rugby Championship victory over the reigning world champions in Brisbane.
The 29-year-old exemplified his top-class finishing ability by scoring two tries but it was his work ethic off the ball that caught the eye of Johnson.
RugbyPass news revealed that a clip shared on social media in the wake of Australia’s win illustrated Koroibete’s high work rate after he packed down for a scrum as a blindside flanker in the absence of the sin-binned Lachlan Swinton in the first half.
As the Springboks attacked, Koroibete is seen detaching from the scrum and sprinting from one side of the field to the other to arrive just in time to help initiate a successful counter-ruck over the top of Mapimpi to win the ball back for the Wallabies.
Johnson spoke highly of the kind of effort displayed by Koroibete.
“When I first came back here, I had watched him overseas, but he was more rugby league than rugby union,” he said.
“Now, you see the skills that he possesses – the long passes, the kicking – and his work rate on the weekend was nothing short of phenomenal.”
“Any aspiring young winger that wants to see a role model of what’s required in the professional game, look at his game.”
Johnson claimed that there is no other wing in world rugby that he would pick over Koroibete in a World XV.
“On the form, he’s the best winger in the world. I think he is. We’re always seeking World XV players, and he’d be in a World XV right now.”
Johnson’s comments were echoed by RA chairman Hamish McLennan, who said Koroibete will depart Australia to take up his new four-year deal with the Saitama Wild Knights in Japan as a Wallabies great.
“Obviously, he wants to look after his family, but he will go down as one of the Wallabies greats. We definitely want him back one day.”
By Romeka Romena