Overlooked Wallabies have 'something to prove' in 2022
A record 63-28 loss to the Crusaders, who led 49-7 at one stage, was the low point of a dire Super Rugby Trans-Tasman campaign.
It has inspired a brutal pre-season under coach Brad Thorn, built around improving physical strength and sharpening basic skills.
“We got a humbling this year; won the AU comp then went to the Trans-Tasman and got it handed to us, especially against the Crusaders,” back-rower and captain Liam Wright told AAP.
“That pointed our pre-season a bit, gave us things to work on because from a physical standpoint we got bullied.”
Individuals have their own drivers too with the Super Rugby Pacific season kick-off in February, before three home Tests against England.
Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight were both controversially omitted from the Wallabies’ Spring Tour squad to instead exploit a full off-season of development.
Lukhan Salakaia-Loto was not re-selected after leaving camp for the birth of his child, while Angus Scott-Young opted for a domestic season in New Zealand when it became clear he wasn’t in coach Dave Rennie’s plans.
Halfback Tate McDermott impressed when given chances but still finished the year behind Nic White in the pecking order, while the game-changing Taniela Tupou remains in a prop rotation with Allan Alaalatoa.
2021 Round Table review: Our writers tackle the big questions as part of the end of year wrap. Next up, where are the Wallabies at under Dave Rennie after year two? https://t.co/UwS3V1j6Cq
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) December 23, 2021
“Pretty much everyone here does have something to prove,” Wright said.
“As a group, we want to prove Queensland can be a powerhouse in rugby and personally there is a lot of guys that have missed out on selection.
“Look at our whole back five and forward pack … there’s a lot of guys here that are looking to put their names up.”
Wright himself was shunted down the back-row depth chart after an ankle injury meant he missed the start of the season, Scott-Young’s rise now leaving him with work to do to even make the Reds’ run-on side.
“That injury really disrupted things, so a pre-season (with the Reds) was best for me rather than being on Spring Tour to make some gains that they’ve been talking about for years,” Wright said.
“I’m trying to take it positively, knowing I’m going to have to earn a spot back there and here as well.”
– Murray Wenzel
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