Tolu Latu takes on Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (left) and Jack Dempsey (right) during Wallabies training on Thursday. Picture: Getty Images
Tolu Latu takes on Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (left) and Jack Dempsey (right) during Wallabies training on Thursday. Picture: Getty Images

Latu relishing second chance with Wallabies

Wallaby bad boy Tolu Latu said Michael Cheika warned him to get his act together before agreeing to give him a second chance with the Wallabies after he went off the rails earlier this year.

Cheika kicked Lotu out of a pre-World Cup training squad after the feisty NSW hooker was busted for drink driving but with a message ringing in his ears.

"I remember talking to Michael at the camp just before I got sent home and he just said to get my stuff sorted and if I do get another opportunity, make sure I take up that opportunity and make the most of it," Latu said.

"At the time, I didn't think I would be here in this position and I'm truly grateful and thankful for the opportunity."

 

Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu at training ahead of Australia's Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji. Picture: Rugby Australia/Stuart Walmsley
Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu at training ahead of Australia's Rugby World Cup opener against Fiji. Picture: Rugby Australia/Stuart Walmsley

 

With a long rap sheet, Latu was convinced he'd be watching the World Cup on television but instead of sulking he did his get stuff sorted, getting off the booze and getting himself so fit that Cheika was impressed enough to pick him to start in Saturday night's opening pool game against Fiji.

Wallabies prop Scott Sio said Latu's turnaround was remarkable.

"I think, like anyone, there are certain challenges you're going to face in life but like we've always said it's the reaction after it and how you keep pulling through that will show your character," he said.

"His journey wasn't the one we all like to read in books and so forth but he is where he is today because he's worked extremely hard to put himself in this position and give himself the opportunity to represent his country on our biggest stage.

 

 

Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu speaks at a press conference in Japan. Picture: Rugby Australia/Stuart Walmsley
Wallabies hooker Tolu Latu speaks at a press conference in Japan. Picture: Rugby Australia/Stuart Walmsley

"Credit to him - he understands that it's a daily process, he needs to keep working to make himself better and keep getting better for the team and we've definitely noticed that and pretty excited to run alongside him this weekend."

But in warning Latu to clean up his act, Cheika wasn't just talking about his off-field problems.

 

 

Latu also has a history of on-field brain explosions that have resulted in a string of send offs and suspensions and he was told he needed to start behaving better on the field as well if he wanted to be part of the team.

"Cheik spoke to me about that and pointed to that as one of the areas that I needed to work on," he said.

"It's tough at times because the ref is always right so it's been a part of my game that I've been trying to work on from the back end of last year.

"I couldn't tell you what I'm thinking on the time on the field but I just go off my gut feeling. Once I hear the ref say, 'Leave it alone, leave the ball,' then I'm just hands off straight away."

 

 

Stream the Rugby World Cup 2019 on KAYO SPORTS. Every match Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tabletGet your 14 day free trial >

 

 

Stream the Rugby World Cup 2019 on KAYO SPORTS. Every match Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tabletGet your 14 day free trial >

News Corp Australia


Twenty people selected to be part of M’boro regional forum

premium_icon Twenty people selected to be part of M’boro regional forum

Twenty local people will be part of the discussions

War medals, mannequin of Howard  hero, donated to museum

premium_icon War medals, mannequin of Howard hero, donated to museum

He left Australia with fellow officer, Lt Duncan Chapman