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‘Hang on…’: Ex-Wallaby questions why Tom Wright was dropped by Eddie Jones

By Finn Morton
Tom Wright of the Brumbies celebrates scoring a try during the round five Super Rugby Pacific match between ACT Brumbies and Moana Pasifika at GIO Stadium, on March 22, 2024, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles has questioned why Tom Wright was left out of Australia’s squad for the Rugby World Cup after the Brumbies fullback’s strong start to the new Super Rugby Pacific season.

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Wright, 26, started last year’s Test campaign as Eddie Jones’ first-choice fullback, with the former NRL playmaker starting in the No. 15 jersey against South Africa and Argentina.

But after being dropped from the national squad ahead of two Bledisloe Cup Tests, and then missing the sport’s showpiece event over in France, Wright has bounced back with a series of statement performances with the Brumbies.

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Linking up with speedster Corey Toole, the fullback finished off an early try-of-the-season contender against Moana Pasifika at Canberra’s GIO Stadium on Friday night.

Wright finished with a double, had run for a game-high 130 metres from nine carries, beaten four defenders and made two line breaks during the clinical 60-21 victory. That performance led Stephen Hoiles to reflect on what happened with Wright and the Wallabies in 2023.

“He’d had a couple of big mistakes in Test matches last year which cost him dearly, when you think about it,” Hoiles said on Stan Sports’ Between Two Posts.

“I remember during the World Cup, we had so much going on during the World Cup last year, and there was that Barbarians squad, I remember seeing a photo of the Barbarians and just going, ‘Hang on, why’s Tom Wright not in the Wallabies squad?’

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“He’s only ever been good for every team he’s played in. Again, two moments in the Test series leading up to the World Cup selection. That’s a huge quality player that we left out of that World Cup squad.

“That can go one of two ways, players can spit the dummy and not work hard in the off-season. He’s a Sydney boy, he was back up and down the highway doing speed training all summer, working his backside off.”

Match Summary

1
Penalty Goals
0
9
Tries
3
6
Conversions
3
0
Drop Goals
0
107
Carries
94
9
Line Breaks
4
13
Turnovers Lost
9
5
Turnovers Won
3

Wright was clearly the standout for the Brumbies as they ran up a confidence-building win over a valiant Moana Pasifika outfit in round five.

The Brumbies opened the scoring against Moana Pasifika in the sixth minute and while it was a close game for a while, Wright helped the hosts pull away with a comfortable win in the end.

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Hudson Creighton and Wright both scored doubles, while Rob Valetini, Tamati Tua, Charlie Cale, Corey Toole and Lachlan Lonergan all contributed with five-pointers of their own.

The Brumbies are now third on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder with four wins from five starts, and the combination of Wright and Corey Toole is a big reason why.

“It looks as though (coach Stephen) Larkham has given them a bit more of a license to counter from deep,” Hoiles continued.

“What they did really well on the weekend though was three tries from penalty advantage. They had the arm and then they went bang. They didn’t play low percentage play, they were set up to play off an advantage whereas other teams don’t do that.”

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Comments

3 Comments
m
mitch 119 days ago

With Toole Wright doesn't need to be the man to try and make stuff happen. There's pressure off him and gim and Toole are a dangerous combination. Both can also play off Lolesio or play make. At this stage Lolesio, Wright and Toole should be starting for the Wallabies. These guys are getting better and we need combinations. I'm a Reds supporter so not a one eyed Brumby by any means. Wright is quick and strong in contact which you need for a modern international fullback.

F
Flatcoat 120 days ago

Drop him because of his brain snaps in test matches..he is a liability..his discipline is poor..

M
MattJH 120 days ago

Yeah well there were a lot of puzzling selection omissions by Mr Jones last year, well documented and discussed.
Time for the Japanese to scratch their heads in bewilderment.

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