HONG KONG: Australia coach Dave Rennie has backed Noah Lolesio after the young kicker endured a difficult night in the Wallabies' opening Bledisloe Cup loss against New Zealand on Saturday.
The ACT Brumbies fly-half struggled off the tee in blustery conditions at Auckland's Eden Park as the All Blacks completed a 33-25 win to open up a lead in the trans-Tasman series.
"He was sensational in the French series, so you don't go from an ace goal kicker to a novice overnight," said Rennie, referencing Lolesio's showing in last month's 2-1 series win over France.
"We've got a lot of faith in the kid. He was excellent against France. He's going to get better and better. He's 21. There are a lot of young men around him.
"He's growing, an impressive kid too. Very confident, great work ethic, spending a lot of time sitting around with Quade (Cooper) and talking about generic parts of his game.
"He's been really impressive. He played pretty well tonight but he had a rough night with the boot."
Lolesio missed three conversions and a penalty to leave nine points begging in a match decided by eight, but captain Michael Hooper is confident his team mate will bounce back.
"The great thing about our sport is we pick each other up," said Hooper. "He's a confident young kid and his boot guided us to a series win (against France).
"In a goal kicker's career, there's going to be nights like that. He'll be better from that, he'll learn from it for sure."
The Wallabies were second best for much of the game at a venue where they have not won against New Zealand since 1986.
However, the Australians clawed their way back into the match with a late rally and, with the teams set to play again in Auckland on Saturday, Rennie is relishing the clash.
"There's all this talk about Eden Park and how tough it is to win here, but our mindset was we're going to get two cracks at it for a start. You've got to embrace that," he said.
"Also, what's happened historically counts for nothing on the day. It's maybe our advantage that we have a lot of young men who aren't battle-scarred by the past."