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'That's footy': Reds star Wright raring to go after 'tough' 18 months

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Queensland Reds flanker Liam Wright is ready to make his mark in Super Rugby Pacific this season after a “tough” stint on the sidelines.

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Wright, who made his Wallabies debut in 2019, suffered a serious ankle injury during a pre-season clash against the Waratahs in Northern New South Wales a couple of years ago.

Injuries have plagued Wright’s Super Rugby ambitions since – but he’s back and raring to go ahead of the upcoming campaign.

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Reflecting on the difficult 18 months, the 25-year-old said that he’s loved being back “amongst the group” throughout the pre-season.

“It’s been a tough sort of 18 months,” Wright told reporters. “I feel like that’s footy, people have their runs of injuries at times and hopefully I’ve done as much as I can to prepare myself for a good season.

“I’m loving, despite it being a tough pre-season, just being amongst the group and not training rehab running down the side (of the field).

“It’s a plus wherever you look at it. I feel like mentally you come back a lot stronger for it, the body feels the best it’s felt in a while.

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“Just looking forward to ripping in and it’s great that we have a trial next week. I think it’s been a tough pre-season so the boys are looking forward to an actual hit out now.”

The Reds have been dealt a couple of tough blows ahead of the upcoming campaign, with star front rowers Harry Hoopert and Taniela Tupou currently unavailable due to injuries.

Test regular Tupou, also known as The Tongan Thor, sustained a suspected Achilles injury during the Wallabies five-match spring tour last year.

But Wright isn’t panicking, and neither as the Reds. As the 2022 co-captain discussed, some younger players have stepped up.

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“The team is shaping up nicely,” he added. “Obviously a few key injuries in our front row there with Hoops and Nela but the guys rare settling in well.

“The guys are filling in really well, and everyone who has come in has stepped in.

“We’ve got guys now that were probably just young guys coasting through last year and have really stepped up during this pre-season; finding a lot more voice, finding their body a bit more.

“I’m really happy with where it’s at for now. The pre-season has been great, everyone’s ripping in.

“One more week to go and then we can show what we’ve got in the first trial so looking forward to that.”

While Wright appears to be both focused and excited on the upcoming pre-season clash, the countdown to the Super Rugby Pacific season is well and truly on.

It can’t be ignored.

Queensland begin their season with an intriguing clash against the Hurricanes in Townsville on February 25th.

The Reds have been training in the sweltering heat in Hervey Bay, which Wright believes could serve the team well ahead of their trip north to North Queensland.

“I think it bodes well for us because as we know, Queensland pre-seasons are a bit different to everywhere else.

“You have to combat the heat, the seat, the stickiness of the ball and things like that.

“We know that Townsville Round One is not going to be much different, in fact up north it’s probably going to be a bit hotter.

“We know what it’s like, we played the Chiefs there in 2021 I believe and got a nice victory.

“We’re just looking forward to putting some things in place in the trials and take as much of that forward as we can to Round One because combinations are building nicely.”

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