Dual-international Mat Rogers has warned against axing young playmaker Noah Lolesio as the Wallabies head into back-to-back matches against the world champion Springboks.
Lolesio's place in Australia's No. 10 jumper for The Rugby Championship has been the subject of fierce debate following a 3-0 series loss at the hands of New Zealand.
Utility Reece Hodge could slot into the starting flyhalf role against South Africa on the Gold Coast on Sunday. Veteran James O'Connor is training with the squad but may not be rushed back from the groin injury which has kept him out since May.
But Rogers believes if Wallabies coach Dave Rennie sees 21-year-old Lolesio as the man for the future, he must persist as he prepares to reveal his squad on Friday.
"Chopping and changing, I don't think is the answer," Rogers said at a promotional event for Australia's 2027 Rugby World Cup bid.
"If you think you've got the right guy there, then you've got to persist with him through the good and the bad and the bad can sometimes be real bad.
"You take someone out and how long does it take when you bring them back to get their confidence back? I'd be persistent.
"We've got some enormous talent in the team. When you've got such a large squad, it's easy to think, 'we need to take that guy out, put this guy in'.
"Teams within a team are really important. We've got to really foster those combinations and persist when things aren't going quite as well as what we would like.
"The team is doing well, obviously not well enough, they're not winning as many games as they want, but I think there's a bright future ahead."
Rogers jokes it might look a little brighter if Rugby Australia "throw the book at Tommy Turbo" in a bid to lure Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic away from rugby league ahead of the 2027 World Cup.
Fellow convert Lote Tuqiri was also at the promotional event on the Gold Coast, and suggested Quade Cooper could be the man to tag in for Lolesio.
"I've always liked Quade Cooper. He's in the squad, he's been in and around that team for a while," Tuqiri said.
"I'm not saying Noah Lolesio is not the option, I think Noah needs a bit of a rest at the moment. He's only a young guy, building into that constant pressure every week can get a bit tough.
"He's only young in his Wallaby career. Give him a week or two off, let Quade take one or two of these games, that can help take the pressure off him, and Noah can come and take over."
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