Centre of mind: Daugunu eyeing off midfield Wallaby switch on recall

Mon, Jul 1, 2024, 4:33 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

Filipo Daugunu returns to Wallabies camp eyeing off a spot in the midfield as he makes good use of his second shot at the gold jersey.

Daugunu was one of several capped players recalled into the national set-up after missing the 2023 Test season.

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In fact, it’s been almost three years since the 29-year-old pulled on the Wallabies jersey, ironically against Wales in Cardiff at the end of 2021.

During this time, the flyer found a different home club and positional-wise after a brief experiment at outside centre with the Reds in 2022.

His starting opportunity for Australia A against Portugal reflected this shift for Daugunu, who started 12 games for the Rebels in the 13 jersey this season before earning the call-up.

“It’s been a lot of hard work (to get recalled) being away for two years and trying really hard to get back again, he told reporters.

“…I just tried to understand more about Rugby and improve myself week after week so I’m happy to be here.

“It’s tough to play international (Rugby) and to play you need to be fit and understand the whole game plan and your role in the team."

Daugunu will return to the Reds in 2025, re-signing with the Queensland club following the Rebels' departure from Super Rugby.

The seven-Test Wallaby is eager to battle Josh Flook at both club and country for a shot at the outside centre position, with Len Ikitau another option after his recall.

“It’s made me comfortable to play 13 and wing to grow my game. I’d love to play 13 more,” Daugunu said on the experience of moving into the centres.

“…It was a good chance to go down to Melbourne and to get to play 13 so I can be back in the Wallabies.

“Going back to the Reds, I don’t mind where I play, I’m just looking forward to it.”

Waratah Joey Walton has been called into the squad for David Feliuai (personal reason), providing another midfield option for coach Joe Schmidt.

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