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‘Hopefully be in the 23’: Liam Wright’s ‘surprise’ with Wallabies captaincy

By Finn Morton
Wallabies captain Liam Wright poses for a portrait following the Wallabies Captain's Run at Allianz Stadium on July 05, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Before the Wallabies team to play Wales was revealed to the players on Tuesday, Liam Wright just wanted to make the 23. The backrower hasn’t played Test rugby since 2020 which made what happened next all the more “unusual.”

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Wright will do more than just make the 23 after being named to both start at blindside flanker and also lead the Aussies into battle at Allianz Stadium. The Queenslander is set to become the 89th captain in Wallabies history.

It was reported by multiple media outlets during the week that Wright would wear the figurative captain’s armband, which was confirmed on Thursday at midday. This appointment has come as a surprise to many, including the man himself.

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New Zealand Sevens star Sarah Hirini gets emotional when asked by Finn Morton about Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, who will retire after the Olympics.

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Sarah Hirini on retiring legend Portia Woodman-Wickliffe

New Zealand Sevens star Sarah Hirini gets emotional when asked by Finn Morton about Portia Woodman-Wickliffe, who will retire after the Olympics.

With the rest of the selected Wallabies and Wallaroos grouping together for a massive team photo on Friday morning, Wright both proudly and humbly took a moment to speak about the captaincy and his journey back from the Test rugby wilderness.

“It was a full surprise,” Wright told reporters at Allianz Stadium.

“I was pretty nervous Tuesday morning trying to hopefully be in the 23 and I was very privileged to be able to start, and then just saw thee little captain’s armband underneath that and it was a big surprise.

“Joe didn’t give me any little heads up or anything like that and I think that’s the way he likes to play a bit, keeps his cards close to his chest.

“It was a massive honour and really special moment, not only to be back in Wallaby gold but to be able to lead the boys.

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“It’s been an unusual journey. I got a taste of Wallaby gold quite early in my career and it was so special but I think being away from the jersey with injuries for the last three or four years, I think my last Test match was just under four years ago, my last time in the squad was three and a bit years ago,” he explained later.

Head-to-Head

Last 5 Meetings

Wins
3
Draws
0
Wins
2
Average Points scored
26
29
First try wins
60%
Home team wins
60%

“Having to watch from afar and especially when my body wasn’t able to do the job was tough… I feel a lot more ready now in the squad than I probably did four years ago and I think I can add a lot.

“I am proud of the resilience I’ve shown in finding my way back here. I think there was always a belief in the back of my mind that if I could get my body right to play a full season and play consistently… then I could find my way back into the squad.”

Wright is the seventh Wallabies captain in 12 months, with former boss Eddie Jones picking multiple players to lead the team across nine Tests last year. Of those six captain’s, James Slipper, Allan Alaalatoa and Tate McDermott have been named to take on the Welsh.

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But coach Schmidt has decided to go in another direction. Wright has experience as a leader with the Queensland U20s, Queensland Country and as a co-captain with McDermott at the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby Pacific.

Wright has also been handed the responsibility as one of the Wallabies’ lineout callers under Schmidt, and that was a big reason why the loosie was given the nod. Schmidt described the new skipper as an “understated” choice for the role on Thursday.

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Interestingly, Australia’s coach also explained why this isn’t necessarily a long-term appointment in the leadership role. That’s a mentality that Wright has taken on board ahead of two Tests against Wales and a clash with Georgia.

“I don’t think there’s a huge long-term view at the moment. I think it’s just focusing on this series at the moment,” Wright said.

“I’m going to do the best I can in this jersey for as long as I get to.

“I don’t think there’s any huge decisions on going past this too much at this point. I’m going to try and represent the jersey as best as I can, represent the role as best I can and then leave it in Joe’s hands after that.”

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2 Comments
C
Cheers 16 days ago

Can’t wait for that miserable prick john to comment while his wife is being swept off her feet by a kiwi

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