A Super Rugby AU title would “make it all worth it” for Queensland Reds captain Liam Wright, who sees symmetry as the side prepares for its first decider in nine years.
The Reds won their only title in 2011, Churchie graduate Wright watching in Brisbane in the wake of the state’s devastating floods.
This year the debut captain has piloted his side through a three-month pandemic-enforced competition shutdown that has rocked the code, forcing many out of their jobs at Ballymore or working overtime on reduced salaries.
Wallabies hopeful Wright has also dealt with the messy departure of Izack Rodda to France during the shutdown, having beat him to the captaincy to begin the season.
They have won four straight games for the first time since 2012 to reach the final against the Brumbies on Saturday, a major shift after two seasons of struggles in coach Brad Thorn’s rebuild.
“It would just pay a lot of dues,” Wright said of a title.
“Thorny’s copped a lot of heat for us not performing and our managers and staff have been stuck on JobKeeper working overtime, getting paid less during the pandemic.
“It would all just make it worth it … for our group that’s been through a lot this year – you name it (we have dealt with it).”
The backrower hasn’t missed the significance of a win that would come in extraordinary circumstances.
“With the flood that year (in 2011) and likewise with the Crusaders (who they beat in the final) with the earthquakes,” he said.
“It showed teams rising above those challenges, and with the challenges the world’s facing this year it’s painting a similar picture.”
Thorn was in that Crusaders side and says it still burns to reflect on the loss.
“But growing up in Queensland, knowing Queensland rugby … to see the Reds play such positive rugby, I appreciated it,” he said.
“It’s been similar (this year), it’s been lean times and this time I’m on the other team and other side of the game as a coach – it’s a cool thing.
“It’s personal for me … I’m very interested in the bigger picture of the game and I just want rugby to be doing well in this state.”
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