Marika Koroibete of Australia looks to offload against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux.
Marika Koroibete of Australia looks to offload against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux. Romain Perrocheau

Coach backs Koroibete for Wallabies

RUGBY UNION: Rugby league convert Marika Koroibete says he will be better for the run after his first game of union since high school in Fiji.

The one-time Melbourne Storm star had his moments as the Wallaby XV lost 19-11 to the French Barbarians in Bordeaux.

By and large starved of opportunities, the 24-year-old did have a hand in the opening try after offloading to Ben Mowen to score, while he also showed off his speed with a run in the second half.

"At the start I was a bit nervous but then I got my first touch and I felt a bit more comfortable,” he said.

"There's still more to learn.

"I just had to work a bit harder, position myself, get the ball in my hands and make more contributions to the team.”

Australian assistant coach Morgan Turinui said he had the potential to become a regular in the Wallabies line-up.

"I definitely do (think he has Wallabies potential). He didn't look out of place there,” he said.

"There's a few decent players on the wing for the Wallabies at the moment but the great thing is we have quality players pressing for positions.

"And Marika, with a Super Rugby season under his belt, I'll be expecting him to be pushing them pretty hard.”

Turinui will also work with Koroibete at the Melbourne Rebels next year.

"He made some really good defensive efforts off the ball to cover and also a good kick chase off one of the kick-offs,” Turinui added.

"He put some really good tackles on and the boys got a really good kick out of it, lifted the energy of the whole team.

"There was some really exciting stuff that he did off the ball that was probably the big thing for me.”

Western Force playmaker Jono Lance, who missed part of the Super Rugby season with a pectoral injury, suffered a suspected broken arm six minutes into the game against the Barbarians.

Wallabies rookie Kyle Godwin, who made his Test debut against France last weekend, was a standout for the visitors.



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