Former NRL star Marika Koroibete trains with the Wallabies during their Spring Tour.
Former NRL star Marika Koroibete trains with the Wallabies during their Spring Tour. Stu Forster

Koroibete keen to prove he's in a league of his own

RUGBY UNION: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika drooled over Tevita Kuridrani's "unbelievable” acrobatic try in Australia's two-point win over France last weekend, saying the effort reminded him of NRL wingers.

In the 58th minute, Kuridrani launched himself for the line with his whole body suspended in the air, parallel to the ground and centimetres from the turf.

Somehow he managed to plant the ball down.

"I think we all thought we were watching NRL for a moment when he went in with his whole body over the sideline,” Cheika said.

"NRL wingers, they're professional at it now and we had a bit of a laugh.”

Now Cheika can see the gifts NRL wingers have up close with former Melbourne Storm flyer Marika Koroibete to make his professional rugby debut for the Wallaby XV against the French Barbarians in Bordeaux on Friday (5.45am AEST).

Cheika said Koroibete had grown in confidence in his weeks with the squad.

"It's funny. He didn't say a word the first week, a few words the second week and a few more words the third week,” he said.

"I think we're looking forward to seeing him play. Him and Taqele (Naiyaravoro) on either wing should be an interesting prospect.”

Cheika said a baptism of fire against the French would be the quickest way for the 25-year-old to get himself up to speed in rugby after six years in league.

"I'm sure he'll deal with it,” Cheika said.

Morgan Turinui, who will coach the Wallaby backs for the Barbarians game, also liked what he saw.

"He's a pro. He's been in a really professional set-up, so (we) probably need to thank Craig Bellamy and the Storm set-up for the way they have developed him as a player and he just seamlessly seems part of the squad,” he said.

"I think a few people obviously thought it was a strange selection but I think the development that he's been able to get, and just get some rugby nous and training alongside the best players in Australia, is probably a great way to start off.”

Former Test captain Ben Mowen will make his first appearance for the Wallabies since leaving Australia in 2013 against the Barbarians.

The back-rower captained the Wallabies in six of his 15 Tests, before signing with Top 14 club Montpellier at the end of the 2013 season.

Australia has called on four overseas-based players for the game, with Mark Gerrard, Peter Kimlin and Nathan Charles named alongside Mowen.

Full Wallabies squad members Tom Robertson, Will Skelton, Nick Frisby, Naiyaravoro and Koroibete have been named in the group, making their involvement in Saturday's Ireland Test unlikely.

Meanwhile, Ireland will be forced to reshape its backline for the Test in Dublin against the Wallabies.

After the bruising loss to the All Blacks, the men in green will be without star five-eighth Johnny Sexton and inside centre Robbie Henshaw, while fullback Rob Kearney is in doubt with concussion.

Henshaw was taken from the field on a stretcher after 10 minutes last Saturday after a heavy tackle by New Zealand flanker Sam Cane which left the home side seething.

Kearney and flanker CJ Stander will both play if they resume training before the end of the week as expected.

Utility back Simon Zebo (cramp) is also expected to be available.

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