Brumbies and Wallabies center Len Ikitau admits he is looking forward to returning to the field despite coming off a shortened preseason.
Ikitau has been back in training with the squad for a fortnight since his well-deserved break following an outbreak in 2021 that turned him into a regular Wallabies.
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This included two weeks in quarantine after his return from the Spring Tour, through which he self-admittedly was still trying to build his fitness for another important season.
Despite this, the 23-year-old is eager to take part in their only Super Rugby Pacific trial on January 30 against the Waratahs.
“It’s my second week back so I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the guys and coaches. The boys are ready to face the Waratahs and hopefully we will get a chance to play,” Ikitau told reporters last week.
“For me it’s about getting the meters in the legs and the contact part of it back. I know I’ll be back at that level at the start of the first lap, but right now I’m training and putting my best foot forward.
“I’m just trying to get the body right for another big season.”
This comes with the knowledge that with the arrival of a number of new faces, including former Wallaby Chris Feauai-Sautia, there will be plenty of players chasing a spot in the backline.
It reflects a stark contrast to 12 months ago, when Ikitau wanted to cement his place in the outdoor center after Tevita Kuridrani left.
With a nearly full Wallaby backline returning to the nation’s capital, Ikitau recognized the importance of combination building and continued to improve to stave off competition. “It’s about building those combinations. There are a lot of good players in the squad like Chris (Feauai-Sautia) and Hud (Creighton) here, as well as new guys who put their best foot forward and help with the depth of this team,” he says.
“Chris, I’ve been following him with the Reds for a while. I played against him in NRC in 2017 and he is a great football player. If we get him at his best it will be good for the club.
“There are a lot of Wallabies in that backline but if you don’t perform you don’t deserve the chance to play and I feel like the guys are pushing each other to be at their best and hopefully get picked, it’s good competition .”
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