Lolesio sends Jones World Cup reminder as Brumbies topple Rebels
Playmaker Noah Lolesio sent a World Cup message to watching Wallabies coach Eddie Jones with two tries Sunday as the ACT Brumbies downed the Melbourne Rebels 33-26 in Super Rugby Pacific.
The 23-year-old was a regular in the Australian setup through much of 2022 but fell out of favour towards the end of the season under former coach Dave Rennie.
Jones then overlooked him in his first squad since taking the reins last month, instead including Ben Donaldson of the NSW Waratahs and uncapped Rebels rival Carter Gordon, who he singled out for praise.
With Jones in the stands at Melbourne's AAMI Park, Lolesio made a statement in the first half before being replaced after 55 minutes, showing emotion after both tries.
He thumped his chest after the first and appeared to yell "Carter Gordon" after the second.
"It's a bit personal this game but I will keep it on the field," fly-half Lolesio told the host broadcaster as he walked off at half-time.
His exploits, which also saw him boot three conversions, helped the Brumbies to a 21-14 lead at the break.
The second stanza was also tightly contested with the Brumbies holding on for a crucial win that moved them back above the Canterbury Crusaders and Auckland Blues into second place on the competition ladder.
They remain nine points adrift of the unbeaten Waikato Chiefs, who have won 10 from 10 so far.
"We've definitely got to be proud of that effort," said Brumbies captain Alan Alaalatoa.
"I thought maybe in the last 10 minutes we lacked a bit of concentration and allowed them to get back into the game. But on the other side, there were some big defensive plays on our goal line which saved the game today."
While Lolesio grabbed the headlines, the hard-running Carter also had a good game, weathering some crunching tackles while setting up a try for the Rebels and bagging one for himself.