- 93kg Weight
In 2022, All Black star outside back Will Jordan said that Marika Koroibete had “been setting the benchmark for wingers over the last two or three years”. Given that Koroibete’s peer group of that period included Jordan, Cheslin Kolbe, Jonny May, Damian Penaud and Duhan van der Merwe, the magnitude of the statement is put firmly into context.
A powerful ball-runner with an exceptional work ethic, the always humble Koroibete grew up on a remote family farm in Fiji and in 2011 he moved to Australia to play rugby league. A prolific try scorer, Koroibete played six seasons in the NRL, three each with the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm. In 74 first grade games he scored 46 tries.
In 2016, Koroibete announced a move to the 15-a-side game after he signed with the Melbourne Rebels. Koroibete was a surprise selection for the Wallabies’ end-of-season Spring Tour however coach Michael Cheika avoided the temptation to rush him into the Test team. The wait proved more than worthwhile when Koroibete exploded onto the international scene halfway through the 2017 Rugby Championship and played his maiden Test against Argentina in Canberra. Koroibete went to his first Rugby World Cup in 2019, the same year he was awarded the John Eales medal as Australia’s player of the year.
Since Japan, Koroibete - when available - has become one of the first players picked in every Wallaby Test side. In 2022, against South Africa in Adelaide, Koroibete delivered one of the most significant man-of-the-match performances in recent times. With Tom Wright yellow carded, the Australians were under the pump, one man down and camped in their quarter late in the first half. The Springboks won a lineout five metres out, on Koroibete’s side of the field, and spread the ball - with just two passes - to their left wing Makazole Mapimpi. Mapimipi, 20 metres from the line, and with no one between him and five points, looked “in for all money”. That was until Koroibete, who had sprinted 65 metres from his own touchline, produced a tackle for the ages to knock the ball loose and smash Mapimpi into touch. Andrew Mehrtens said, “It’s like he’s been shot out of a cannon to get across there. That is extraordinary.” The tackle was the match’s defining moment. He then scored a try himself to help the home side to a rousing win.
Wallaby coach Dave Rennie’s praise could not have been more effusive: "He's incredible and what you see on Saturdays is what you see every day at training - he is just full on. If we kick a ball, he is at full pace chasing, he is concrete when he hits, his work ethic is phenomenal, I haven't seen another winger like it. You have a look at his numbers, they're outrageous." Koroibete rounded out an incredible season when he was named in the World Rugby Men’s 15s Dream Team of the Year.
2017 Koroibete won his first Test cap when he replaced Henry Speight on the right wing against Argentina in Canberra. Two weeks later Koroibete was selected at No. 14 in the starting XV against South Africa at Bloemfontein. He more than justified his selection with two excellent tries in the 27-27 draw. Koroibete finished the year with eight Test caps to his name.
2018 He started on the wing in 11 of his 12 Tests, scored three tries, and only missed the 6-9 loss to Wales in Cardiff.
2019 Koroibete was capped in eight of the Wallabies 10 Tests, a tally that included four at his first Rugby World Cup tournament. He finished the year as the Wallabies equal-top try scorer with five.
2020 He started all six Tests of the COVID-reduced international season on the left wing.
2021 Koroibete was capped on the left wing in eight of the Wallabies first nine Tests. He missed the first Test against New Zealand after a breach of team protocols and then made himself unavailable for the Spring Tour following the birth of his third child.
2022 He played nine Tests, all three in the home series against England and all six of the Rugby Championship but again missed the Spring Tour fixtures, this time due to club commitments in Japan. Koroibete won his 50th cap in the first Test against New Zealand in Melbourne.