As little as a month ago, Tolu Latu was struggling to get his place in the Waratahs team.
Fast-forward a few weeks and the 25-year-old makes an excellent contribution off the bench for the Wallabies in their 18-9 victory over Ireland at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Damien Fitzpatrick and Hugh Roach got ahead in the pecking order at the Sydney-based Super Rugby side but it was when this happened that he elicited the help of Wallabies captain and Tahs teammate Michael Hooper to get him back on track.
Latu was told by Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson that he needs to work on the specialities of being a hooker – lineout throwing and scrummaging – it was here where Hooper lent a helping hand.
“He (Hooper) knew that I needed to get my reps up,” Latu revealed to foxsports.com.au. “He’s like, ‘mate, just grab me whenever you want. I’m here to help you out.’
“So every morning Hoops comes in at the Tahs and I’m throwing to him. He’s standing on a ladder and I’m just throwing to him. Probably 100 throws every morning. By the end of the day, I’ve probably thrown 200 balls.
Latu, who made four appearances for the Wallabies in 2016 and only appeared for the fifth time from the bench on Saturday, says that Hooper is the man who wants to help if anyone needs him.
“He saw that I wanted to get back into the side and he’s that type of captain that if you need him, he’ll be happy to help out and he gets there pretty early.
“He’s the first one there, so he gets there pretty early and he’s willing to help anyone out who’s wanting to do extra.”
Hooper is certainly a man that leads by example and you expect him to do so against Ireland in Melbourne on Saturday.