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‘Reward for hard work’: Captain Liam Wright’s take on Wallabies’ win

By Finn Morton
Liam Wright of the Wallabies takes to the field during the men's International Test match between Australia Wallabies and Wales at Allianz Stadium on July 06, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

While the Wallabies were right to celebrate their deserved 25-16 win over Wales on Saturday evening, captain Liam Wright has called on the playing group to “roll up the sleeves” as they prepare for another battle against the same foe.

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As the full-time whistle sounded at Allianz Stadium, Wallabies fans at the Sydney venue let out a deafening cheer. That fateful July night have been a long time coming for the Aussies, about nine months on from their Rugby World Cup disaster.

But the dawn of a new era has arrived and the Wallabies made sure to kick things off in style. Australia looked a bit different with a new coach and captain, and also seven debutants in their matchday 23, but they showed the fight needed to win a true Test.

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It was a two-point game with 15 minutes to play after Wales’ Ben Thomas nailed a long-range penalty goal. These fierce rivals have a history of hard-fought Tests and this was no different as the epically tense clash came down to the wire.

Australia fullback Tom Wright was ultimately the difference after racing away for a stunning long-range solo effort with just over 10 minutes to play. The Wallabies held on from there for the win but there’s another match to be played in one week’s time.

“It just reinforces what we’re trying to work on. As Joe said, we’re a relatively new squad so we’ve come together, we’ve tried to build a lot of connection and I think that reinforces the good things,” Liam Wright told reporters post-game.

“There’s obviously a lot to learn from and there’s learnings that we’re going to have to take on pretty quickly… it’s a lot of reward for hard work, not only the last couple of weeks but the guys getting themselves to this point.

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“It’s also great for guys, seven guys on debut tonight, to be able to spend that with their families, and the preparation work that the guys who didn’t get to play this week. It just makes it a bit better going into next week.

“We’re just going to have to roll up the sleeves and go again.”

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
3
3
Tries
1
2
Conversions
0
0
Drop Goals
0
130
Carries
104
3
Line Breaks
2
9
Turnovers Lost
19
7
Turnovers Won
3

Both Wright and Schmidt walked into the post-match press conference with a smile. For a team that’s been together for less than a few weeks, the Aussies had com together and shown the very best of their character to get the result.

Schmidt seemed both proud but relieved, and the same could be said for the man sitting to the coach’s right. Wright became the 89th Wallabies captain after leading them into battle which capped off a “special week.”

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It’s been an eventful few days for Wright and the Wallabies, who focused on recovery in Coogee on Sunday before turning their focus to another clash with Cymru at Melbourne’s AAMI Park next weekend.

“It was a really special week. I worked pretty hard to get myself back into this squad and to be able to see a decent enough performance from us and see some good things that we can grow on… it was really nice being out there,” Wright reflected.

“There was a great atmosphere tonight, I think the crowd was excellent and the boys responded in kind towards that end.

“I think some really gritty defence and stuff like that. It was really special to be a part of.”

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Comments

5 Comments
j
john 15 days ago

Liam Wright was so fantastic ……Schmidt pulled him off the field after 60 odd minutes.
Far out how long can Schmidt keep the BS up ? As long as Rennie and Deans ?

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Wonton 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

19 Go to comments
N
Nick 4 hours ago
How 'gazelle' Nick Frost thawed the hearts of Wallaby fans at Suncorp

Its almost like you read my comment on the other site on sunday morning Nick - you flagged all the same examples! 😝 Frost was motm for mine. That eg in the 56th minute in particular impressed me, nothing but sheer effort and a dupont/smith-like tracking line behind the D. Surely an effort like that from frost marries perfectly with that quote from schmidt at the start of the year about effort and work rate being 70-80% and talent is just the icing on top… What it also showed though was the players not making that effort, in that example he goes past both valetini and ikitau, and in the eg that finished with valetini scoring hunter paisami barely breaks a canter to support the break. And then there was the chase from wright and lancaster for the 2nd georgian try! One blemish - at kickoff I saw frost miss or get bumped off a few tackles and I felt like I saw what has been holding his selection back. I think because he is so big and is trying to get low to tackle, he seems to dip his head and ends up losing his balance or ability to adjust and ends up missing or making a soft hit. I think in the first 2 minutes he misses or makes 2-3 soft tackles, but you could clearly see the work rate and desire! He (the pod) also missed a kick restart or two? Also very happy to see harry wilson back in the fold. What impressed me from him wasn’t all the usual stuff he is known for, but all the other bits that usually let him down. He looked surprisingly good in the air at lineout time, physical at the breakdown, and good in the maul peeling off 3 georgians for one of the maul tries. Id have frost, skelton, wright as my 4-6 with LSL and wilson on the bench. i’m once again unconvinced by tom wirght - he was very good game 1, but game 2-3 he was back to more rocks than diamonds. There is no real other player to usurp him really so he stays in the team for now but I think Joe should put kellaway wherever he serves the team best and wright can be moved around him. Did donno do enough to overtake noah? My gut says no. They clearly had a plan to attack more so he looked better in that regard because he just had more opportunity, but they looked better off tate (who had a v good game also) then they did off donno.

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