The Wallabies need to follow “fearless” sensational winger Mark Nawaqanitawase if they are to succeed at the Rugby World Cup in France.
These are the thoughts of former Test batsman Stephen Hoiles after watching Nawaqanitawase almost pinching a famous victory in Australia on Saturday.
The Pumas, of course, had other ideas as they crossed the try line at the final siren to give Michael Cheika his second Test win over Randwick teammate Eddie Jones.
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‘There is no fear’ Nawaqanitawase sets the tone
It was a preview of the World Cup quarter-final and Hoiles said Nawaqanitawase – who was not used in the first test against the Springboks – set an electric tone for the team.
“It was his confidence without the arrogance,” said Randwick coach Hoiles on Stan Sport’s. Between Two Posts.
“The little things—running with the ball in one hand, ‘I just want to play well at this level.’ You don’t often see guys go out and take that chance.
“Sometimes they play within themselves and ‘I don’t want to make a mistake.’ They didn’t play with fear at all and that’s what the Wallabies will need.
“This is not a side that is good for being cautious and safe. We have to take risks to be a side that goes deep into the World Cup.”
The Rugby Championship in Sydney was the 22-year-old’s fourth Test and he will certainly keep his place on the right wing for the opening game of the Bledisloe Cup in Melbourne.
NEW PODCAST! Sean Maloney, Morgan Turinui and Stephen Hoiles reveal the Wallabies’ disappointing loss against the Pumas and explore their Bledisloe Cup hopes.
With Marika Koroibete a lock for the number 11 jersey, Andrew Kellaway who could return from injury could replace defender Tom Wright on July 29.
“His best moments have been in the gold jersey,” Hoiles said of Nawaqanitawase.
“He’s a great football player.”
Stan Sport analyst Morgan Turinui said the Waratahs star still had work to do on his defense and play, but what he brought was undeniable.
“He almost had to deny (Ardie) Savea to be cleared,” said Turinui.
“Just give me the ball, I’ll go. Now it’s up to (Fraser) McReights and (Michael) Hoopers and the backs to take him.”
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Nawaqanitawase is under contract in NSW and Rugby Australia until the end of 2024 and Stan Sport commentator Sean Maloney urged the RA to lock him up temporarily.
“It’s often mentioned that the Wallabies now have a headless, marquee player that people in the community can identify with, someone walking down Martin Place or Queen Street Mall. This kid is that,” Maloney said.
“It looks good, it runs good, it can be tested, the kids love him. I love him. Big name, strong, strong. Another guy coming up (Joseph Suaalii), it will take time for him to start running.
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“If you keep doing the same thing about Nawaqanitawase, the other bloke, it’s going to take a long time for them to agree to 2025.”
And the most important person, Jones, was also impressed by what he saw.
“He’s always at the back. He’s got incredible skill. And for a guy who doesn’t know much about rugby, his decision-making is incredible,” Jones said.
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