Lolesio makes big strides for Australia in 2021

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Lolesio had a tough debut season in Test rugby in 2020 but showed how much he had learned when guiding Australia to first and third Test victories to seal their recent series with France.

 

Lolesio's advance, while James O'Connor was unavailable due to a groin injury, resulted in Toomua playing at second five-eighths.

 

Toomua said he had enjoyed the change and helping Lolesio in his game. His role was different and was more about giving direction and showing Lolesio space. At the same time, he enjoyed having the chance to contribute to his country despite limited preparation.

 

"We've seen him develop across those three Tests and, I think, he did really well to close out those games we won," he said.

 

The development of younger players during the French series excited To'omua.

 

As well as Lolesio, halfback Tate McDermott and lock Darcy Swain flourished in the series.

 

"If you look at the guys on the sidelines, or injured, there was a lot of inexperience out there in terms of our backline.

"To get a result was very pleasing, and those results live in the memory bank and belief later on in tournaments and games, that we can do it with certain guys in the position.

 

"[It's] huge for us. We debuted a couple and a few first-time starts there. Noah's probably a good example of that. He played all 80 minutes of the three Tests and was the highest points-scorer, and very pivotal in terms of getting the win," he said.

 

Quade Cooper's presence in the squad had been useful in their preparation in New Zealand.

 

"Quade's ability to see space, I think everyone here would agree, is the best in the world on his day," Toomua said.

 

"He's in-form at training, and he sees and reads the game. It's been great for me, Noah and Hunter [Paisami] to see what he's thinking.

 

"He understands it really well if you bunch tight where the seam's at. He often gets labelled as someone who's really off the cuff, or doesn't know what he's doing, but he's got a really good grasp of space and the influences certain players have," he said.

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