10 rookies who provide big hope for Aussie rugby
Remember the names Harry Wilson, Mark Nawaqanitwase and Noah Lolesio.
The exciting lift-off of new careers created the buzz of the opening round when these rookies joined the road-tested regulars of Super Rugby.
Fresh faces stepped up post-World Cup to start filling the void with no David Pocock, Will Genia, Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Quade Cooper, Sekope Kepu and co.
Jim Tucker rates the Top 10 debuts by Aussies in the opening round.
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1 HARRY WILSON (Reds)
The young No.8 took on a huge workload in Canberra's extreme heat. Strong metres (14 runs for 81m), natural off-loads and you can't miss him in red headgear. All this at 20 and he'll learn not to blemish it by pushing 50-50 passes.
2 MARK NAWAQANITAWASE (Waratahs)
Everyone can now pronounce his skills after two tries in four minutes against the Crusaders. His first finish was superb with evasive steps and a dive to score because he looked cornered. At 19, he's a genuine wing find but his first Hall of Fame entry is for his comical slice kick fail a la former Wallaby Jason Little.
3 NOAH LOLESIO (Brumbies)
Got better when the match got tighter which is always a good sign in a 20-year-old No.10. A pinpoint cutout ball in the lead-up to the Tom Wright try and tackled Wilson from behind at a key moment. Composed in the second half and didn't overplay his hand.
4 SOLOMONE KATA (Brumbies)
He has plenty of NRL experience but the big 104kg winger's first outing in Super Rugby was a success. Came off his wing with the power run to set up the opening try and a hustling kick-chase to force a turnover created another. Top signing.
5 FRANK LOMANI (Rebels)
He's the Fijian Test halfback and the replacement for Will Genia. Didn't run as much as he regularly does in a sloppy, ordinary Rebels performance. He'll have bigger days.
6 CARLO TIZZANO (Waratahs)
The Perth-bred openside flanker played only a few minutes but what energy. He buzzes around the ball like a teenage Phil Waugh. He'll be great value for the Waratahs.
7 WILL HARRISON (Waratahs)
Tough debut. He likes to play flat at the line but the harassing Crusaders defence was in the face of his supports and the young flyhalf was smashed by giant winger Leicester Faingaanuku as well. Harrison kept bouncing up for more. Top left-footed goalkicker.
8 CAMERON ORR (Rebels)
Like Angus Bell (Waratahs), here's another Australian Schoolboys prop coming through the ranks. A few carries as a replacement and all he learnt at the Western Force will keep shining through.
9 SERU URU (Reds)
Yet another Fijian recruit to Australian rugby. In his few minutes, the busy backrower won a lineout and reloaded for a charge to set the platform for the late Harry Wilson try.
10 DANE ZANDER (Reds)
A real fairytale for the 20-year-old prop plucked from club footy with Norths in Brisbane last year. Packed his first Super Rugby scrums against Wallabies Allan Alaalatoa and James Slipper during 30 minutes off the bench