Emerging Brumbies back-rower Lolo Fakaosilea has left Super Rugby behind in search of greater opportunities but it is another young prospect highlighting a glaring problem in Australian rugby.
Brumbies back-rower Lolo Fakaosilea has been granted an early release from his Super Rugby contract to chase more game time in Japan.
Lolo Fakaosilea is looking for greater opportunity.
It means the 22-year-old wasn't on the flight to South Africa as the Brumbies prepare to face the Johannesburg Lions on Saturday in the first match of a two-leg tour.
Former Queensland Red Fakaosilea was off-contract at the end of the year but was let go having struggled to make an impact in his two-year stint at the Brumbies, stuck behind a host of stars in the back-row.
Brumbies star David Pocock, exciting teenager Rob Valetini, Lachie McCaffrey and Tom Cusack are all vying for spots in the back-row, which is among the most competitive positions on the club's roster.
Valetini has been dubbed a Wallaby-in-waiting but he has endured a frustrating start to his time in Canberra having required knee surgery for a medial ligament injury.
But he has wasted no time in reminding everyone why he is recognised as one of the most exciting prospects in Super Rugby after making his return against the Melbourne Rebels.
Rob Valetini is back and firing.
However Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says Valetini's sudden rise to prominence highlights an issue in Australian rugby that sees a string of good performances suddenly turn youngsters into Wallabies bolters.
"He’s a good kid Robbie, worked hard on his rehab and performed well for his club last week and had a really good 60 minutes [against the Rebels], I thought for a teenager he fronted up physically both with the ball and without the ball," McKellar said.
"He’s got a big future but we’ve just got to stay grounded with him, it’s his [second] game of Super Rugby and there’s an issue at the moment in Australian rugby when someone plays a couple of good games and all of a sudden he’s a Wallabies bolter.
"Let’s just stay grounded and let the kids develop, he’s a teenager, let’s not worry about that, let’s just turn him into a really good Super Rugby player first and foremost and let him develop and not rush him and throw him in the deep end before he’s not ready.
"I think that chat, we just need to be realistic there, he’s got a big future if he works hard and continues to improve on what he needs to improve on and his performance was encouraging."
Valetini was one of six junior Brumbies picked in the Australian squad for the under 20s World Cup alongside Tom Ross, Mack Hansen, Len Ikitau, Isiah Latu and Ryan Lonergan.
The junior Wallabies will assemble in Canberra for a pre-World Cup camp this week but it is likely Valetini will remain with the Brumbies given the club's injury woes.
The junior Wallabies will play pool games against Wales, Japan and New Zealand, with the World Cup to start in France on May 31.
Source: Read Full Article