13 Reds rewarded with Wallabies squad selection

Fri, Jun 21, 2024, 3:58 AM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit

Call-ups for uncapped Tom Lynagh, Ryan Smith, Josh Nasser, Angus Blyth, Alex Hodgman and Josh Flook are part of the upbeat recognition for Queensland Reds players in the first Wallabies squad of the year.

The return of Liam Wright from the wilderness is also wonderful recognition for the backrow ironman who started all 15 games for the Reds in his standout Super Rugby Pacific season.

In all, 13 Queensland Reds players were included today when new Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt revealed the 38 names who will eagerly start the rebuild of the national team after last year’s wild fortunes.

Flanker Fraser McReight, hooker Matt Faessler, halfback Tate McDermott and prop Zane Nonggorr all return after their World Cup duty in France last year.

There are also returns to the Wallabies set-up for in-form centre Hunter Paisami and No.8 Harry Wilson, who will be available to play again next month after his recovery from a broken arm.

All have been picked to prepare for next month’s Tests against Wales (two) and Georgia.

No club had more picked in the final 38-player mix than the Reds.

Such a solid representation is fine recognition for the strong progress made by the team in finishing fifth in Super Rugby Pacific this season when propelled by a professional era-record of 69 tries.

Flyhalf Lynagh, 21, played 11 games for the Reds during his second season of Super Rugby Pacific which included the notable late penalty goal from halfway to sink the NSW Waratahs in the final round in Sydney.

It was a glimpse of the poise and promise to the young flyhalf who is carving his own reputation distinct from father Michael, the 1991 World Cup-winner and Wallabies great.

Throughout his short Super Rugby career, Lynagh has displayed his excellent mechanics with his passing and kicking to go further in the game.

Wright's diligence as a defender, lineout winner, pilferer and worker in the pack has been rewarded. He played the last of his five Tests in 2020.

For prop Hodgman, 30, this is an astonishing second shot at international rugby after his previous stint as an All Black.

The Auckland-born prop qualifies for Australian selection through his Melbourne-born father Geoff.

Lock Smith’s lineout acumen and improved physicality and completion rate in defence were factors in the Australia A forward winning a squad place. Blyth’s experience across more than 60 Super Rugby games in a towering 2.04m package is rare raw material for Schmidt to develop further.

Hooker Nasser has won his place with eye-catching performances from the bench behind Faessler this season.

The 112kg Nasser and Lynagh share common lineage as sons of former Wallabies.

For Flook, this is recognition of an excellent season where his timing and knowledge in defence was regularly on display in the hot corner at outside centre.

Pace and unselfish team play are other attributes he will bring to a squad chance he has been working hard for.

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Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Pat Conroy MP, at Ballymore Stadium announcing the landmark rugby tour of Tonga for the Queensland Reds men's and women's teams with from (left) Tongan women's coach Eddie Aholehei, Reds prop Massimo De Lutiis, Reds halfback Nat Wright and Tongan women's prop Ayla Cook.
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