Larkham link to Noah’s new deal, Carter and McCaw reveal post-retirement blues, ex-Tahs player dies after bridge jump

The chance to work with World Cup winning flyhalf Stephen Larkham has helped convince Wallabies No.10 Noah Lolesio to recommit to Australian rugby until the end of 2024 despite interest from clubs in Japan.

Larkham, who was no. 10 for the Wallabies as they won the 1999 World Cup, will be head coach of the Brumbies next season with Dan McKellar going into a fulltime role with the national team.

“It’s been a long process but I feel very content in staying here for the next couple of years,” Lolesio told reporters on Monday.

Asked for the reasons for his decision, Lolesio replied: “Obviously just a love for the club first of all. Coming out of school I was pretty unknown and went into the Tuggeranong Vikings system and the Brumbies gave me my shot, so I definitely feel I owe it to the club to stay here for a couple more years.

“And with Bernie [Larkham] coming in next year I’m really looking forward to working with him and hopefully taking my game to another level.”

Lolesio, 22, has played 29 times for the Brumbies and featured in nine tests, including seven as a starter.

His Brumbies halves partner Nic White gave a strong endorsement of Lolesio’s maturity last week ahead of the Brumbies’ victory over the Chiefs.

“He’s managing games really well and our key learnings from trans-Tasman last year is we’re not making the same mistakes twice which is a real credit to him as a player, learning from mistakes,” White said.

“He’s got an appetite for learning and that’s the best thing as a young half. He’s a great player to play with and I can’t give him more plaudits than that – that he’s someone who has an appetite to want to learn, he studies the game to get better.

“He’s great for the group, drives high standards as well and he’s been driving this group well the last couple of weeks – hopefully a few more.”

Born in Auckland but raised on the Gold Coast, Lolesio relocated to Canberra straight after graduating from The Southport School.

A member of the Australian Schoolboys and the Junior Wallabies, he started at inside center in the side that lost the 2019 U20 Rugby World Cup final to France.

He rose to prominence last year with decisive penalties in the series win over France.

(Photo by Anthony Au Yeung/Getty Images)

“Achieving some of my goals, like representing the Wallabies, has been a dream come true, but I’ve still got a lot of things I want to achieve in both a Brumbies and a Wallabies jersey,” Lolesio said in a statement.

“Being part of a great group at the Brumbies with guys I’ve been playing with for a long time is something I value highly and off the back of training well, and putting in good performances, getting the opportunity to be a part of the Wallabies setup is amazing, so I’m just stoked to be staying.”

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said: “We’re thrilled Noah has re-committed to Australian Rugby for another two years.”

“He’s a confident young man, whose developing composition under pressure is evident at both Super Rugby and Test level.

“His skillset continues to improve, and we believe him staying in Canberra and Australian Rugby is going to be the best place for him to realize his potential.”

Brumbies head coach, Dan McKellar said: “It’s fantastic for the Brumbies to have Noah locked in.”

“Noah’s a player of tremendous potential, he’s developed well in our program and everyone at the Brumbies believes he’ll only continue to get better as he gets more and more time in the saddle.

“Retaining him was a high priority for everyone involved in Australian rugby so it’s an exciting day for the club and a no doubt a proud day for Noah and his family.”

‘Still trying to out life after rugby’

All Blacks greats Dan Carter and Richie McCaw have detailed the struggles they have faced since retiri9ng from rugby.

The champion pair retred after leading the All Blacks to the 2015 World Cup triumph.

“I’m still trying to figure out life after rugby,” Carter told News Corp on the weekend. “There’s a temptation to feel like ‘I’ve finished playing, I need to be working’.

“You get asked all the time, ‘What are you doing now?’ I’m still figuring it out. I didn’t have an answer; I was mumbling my words and finding excuses.”

Carter said he had been helped by charity work with UNICEF.

“I’m actually using this time – while trying to figure out what will get me out of bed – to give back,” Carter said.

“I’m doing a bit of work with Oxford University in the UK to mentor the students around leadership, helping the future leaders of this world.

“But also wanting to help underprivileged children. The work I’ve done with Unicef ​​over the past seven years, I’ve been on the ground in Syrian refugee camps. It’s quite challenging for a lot of kids out there and it really hits home.”

Carter has also co-founded the iSport foundation with McCaw and former teammate Ali Williams – with the focus on inspiring young Kiwis to take up sports.

Carter said he had no interest in returning to top level rugby as a coach and was still trying top figure out what comes next.

‘It didn’t take me too long to leave behind the rugby – there’s people that finish and whether it be because of injury or whatever, they wish they were still playing,’ McCaw said.

“But I didn’t end like that, I was excited and interested to see what was next. But that doesn’t mean I’ve got it sorted at all.

“It won’t be coaching. I know I want to give back and contribute in some way to the game because of what I got out of it, but what that looks like, I haven’t figured out.”

Both players said their main aim was finding a purpose outside of rugby.

“I just turned 40, I’m not supposed to hear that word retirement until I’m 65,” Carter said. “You think, ‘Gee, am I no longer of value to society because that’s what people know me for?’ I changed my mindset around that – not be defined as a rugby player.”

Boks star was Six Nations

Eben Etzebeth has admitted that South Africa joining the Six Nations makes ‘perfect sense’ and is something he would support.

Six Nations organizers released a statement in February, rejecting speculation of the Springboks being inducted into the tournament, days after SA Rugby committed to the Rugby Championship until at least 2025.

But the rumors have continued and Etzebeth is the latest to by into them, telling RugbyPass: “I think the Six Nations would be good for us. Obviously, it just makes sense with us playing in the URC at the moment against the same competition.”

Former Tahs player dies after bridge jump

Samoan back row forward Kelly Meafua, who was once a member of the Waratahs, died on Friday after jumping from a bridge into the river Tarn during an evening of festivities, his club Montauban confirmed.

The 31-year-old had played in his side’s 48-40 win over Narbonne in the French second division earlier the same day.

“Everyone at USM is in complete shock, Kelly was so well-liked. We haven’t just lost a player but also a friend and brother,” the club said in a statement.

According to several testimonies, Meafua had been celebrating Montauban’s last home game of the season with his teammates before he was seen jumping from the Pont-Vieux, a height of 22 metres.

One of his teammates, prop Christopher Vaotoa, jumped into the water to help him.

Rescued by firefighters, Vaotoa was taken to hospital with hypothermia before Meafua’s body was found early Saturday morning.

Meafua played Sevens for Samoa and first came to France to play for Narbonne in 2015. He returned to play for Beziers in 2018 before switching to Montauban last season.

Meafua played for the Tahs in the Globals 10s in 2018 after a stint with West Harbor and the Greater Sydney Rams. He did not feature in Super Rugby.

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