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Reds rookie impresses ex-ABs duo

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'I haven't seen many guys do that': Ex-All Blacks duo marvel over Australian Super Rugby rookie

While coronavirus is set to put all Super Rugby teams out of action for the next fortnight, the Reds might feel particularly aggrieved by the competition’s suspension after finding form in the second victory of the season over the weekend.

The Queensland club dispatched the Bulls 41-17 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday, and the performance of young No. 8 Harry Wilson was especially eye-catching.

The 20-year-old former Australia U20 star continued his compelling start to the 2020 campaign before being forced from the field with a knee injury, to the point where he earned praise from two Super Rugby coaches.

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Speaking to Fox Sports post-match, Reds boss Brad Thorn initially seemed hesitant to lather his youngster in praise, but went on to label the Wallabies prospect as a “special player”.

“With Harry, I’m coaching him, so I’m trying to be careful,” Thorn said.

“If I was commentating or something [it would be different] because he’s special, he’s special coming through. So I just want him to stay humble; keep being the guy he is; keep doing his thing.

“But ‘far out’ you see a kid like that come in, straight in; what is it seven games straight; playing that sort of form; I’ve been around for a fair while, I haven’t seen many guys do that.”

Thorn’s sentiments were echoed by decorated Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, whose side had trouble containing Wilson in their tight 24-20 victory over the Reds in Christchurch two weeks ago.

“I’ve officially fallen for, have I mentioned, Harry Wilson,” Robertson told Fox Sports following his team’s 49-14 win over the Sunwolves at the same venue.

“As an ex-No. 8, his ability to set a bit of footwork is special. The other No. 7, Liam Wright, and even the guy [Fraser McReight] off the bench … they’re coming.”

Asked how Thorn – his former Crusaders and All Blacks teammate – could get the best out of his promising back row, Robertson said: “Teach them the detail, grow their game, help them get better, help them grow their skill-sets so they can be international players.

“He should be talking about them not just being a great Queenslander, but being a great Australian [player]. Have a mindset; he’s going to take them to the best that they can possibly be and just drive excellent standards.”

Whether or not Thorn’s young side will get a chance to capitalise on their newfound form and launch a play-offs bid remains to be seen while Super Rugby’s future is up in the air.

However, it seems the foundations are in place for a sustained run of success are there through the likes of Wilson, Wright, McReight and injured Wallabies star Jordan Petaia.

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'I haven't seen many guys do that': Ex-All Blacks duo marvel over Australian Super Rugby rookie
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