Aus league convert not expecting to play

Fri, 28 Oct 2016 12:08

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Fast-tracked Rugby Union convert Marika Koroibete said Friday he doesn't expect to feature on the Wallabies' European tour but is keen to have a learning experience in his new game.

The former Melbourne Storm National Rugby League wing left Friday among a 32-man Wallabies touring party for the Grand Slam tour of Europe.

Fijian-born Koroibete was a shock choice by coach Michael Cheika for the Wallabies despite not having played a Super Rugby match.

Koroibete said he was not guaranteed selection on the tour by Cheika after playing for Melbourne Storm in the NRL grand final earlier this month.

"He didn't promise me anything," Koroibete told reporters before the team's departure for the United Kingdom.

"I'm not expecting a game. I'm just expecting to train as hard as I can, try to impress the coaching staff and see how I go from there."

Koroibete, 24, said the code switch will be a difficult task, having not played Rugby Union since before leaving his homeland in 2010.

"It's really hard coming from NRL straight to the Wallabies. I haven't played a game since high school," he said.

"This will be a big challenge for me. This tour is all about me learning as much as I can and we go from there."

Assistant Wallabies coach Stephen Larkam said Koroibete's goal would be fitting into the squad and learning how to play the game.

"[Koroibete] certainly has got that background of Rugby Union and it's not much different when you're playing on the wing in Rugby League to Rugby Union," Larkham told reporters.

"There'll be a few more patterns and slight changes from set pieces that he'll probably have to get his head around but I think fitting in with the guys first and then just getting that opportunity is all he needs."

Larkham's desire to become the next Wallabies coach took a step closer on Friday when he decided to accept a full-time role with the national side.

He will remain the Brumbies head coach for the next Super Rugby season before focusing on his role with the Wallabies until the World Cup in Japan in 2019.

"The playing group has changed over the last 12 months but it's been very exciting to be a part of that change," Larkham told reporters.

"I'm certainly looking forward to the future. There's a lot of talent in Australia, particularly at the top level."

Larkham, 42, who has been coaching the Brumbies for the past two seasons, has been with the Wallabies part-time as an attack coach.

He has taken the Brumbies to the Super Rugby finals in both his years as head coach, losing in the quarterfinals this year after a semifinal finish in 2015.

"Everyone wants to aspire to be the best in their position. Head coach of the Wallabies, top role in Australia ... that's a long way down the track," he said.

"I haven't really thought about it too much [but], as a coach, there's certainly aspirations to get to the top."

Australia begin their 2016 campaign in Cardiff on November 5, before meeting Scotland at Murrayfield, France in Paris and then Ireland in Dublin.

The tour will conclude on December 3 against England at Twickenham.

Agence France-Presse