After enduring another frustrating season at representative level, Reds backrower Harry Wilson is back at Ballymore and savouring a pre-season with his Queensland teammates.
The 2022 Pilecki Medallist (Reds player of the year) was limited to just two appearances for the Australian side in losses to England and New Zealand, before he was overlooked for the Spring Tour for the second straight year.
Rather than kick stones, the 23-year-old put his frustration aside and threw himself into Queensland’s Tour of Japan, scoring a double in the side’s comprehensive win over the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights.
“Obviously it was a frustrating year for me Wallabies-wise, but coming back into games for Queensland was the best thing for me,” Wilson said.
“It was a really good tour as a group.
“We connected so well and got to know each other on a lot more personal level spending so much time together.”
With another full pre-season and Super Rugby Pacific campaign ahead, Wilson knows it’s a simple equation for him to make his return to the Wallaby fold for next year’s World Cup in France.
“I think I’m good enough, so for me I’ve got to show it now and it comes back to the Reds,” he said.
“If I perform well, it gives me the best opportunity. I’m extremely motivated and the feeling of not being a part of the group hurts a lot.
“Rugby’s a funny game, there can be injuries or people go out of form, so for me it’s about getting myself in the best shape now to give myself the opportunity next year.”
With the international season now in the rear-view mirror, Wilson has turned his attention to Queensland’s fast approaching Super Rugby campaign.
The Reds will get the chance to face New Zealand opposition in the opening rounds of the year, after COVID complications saw the Trans-Tasman element of the competition forced to the later rounds the past two seasons.
“For us this year, we’ve got the opportunity to go head-on with the Kiwis from the start and it’s something we can’t wait to do,” Wilson said.
“There’s been a lot said about us not beating Kiwi teams, and it hurts us a lot because we know we’re good enough and know we can beat them.
“I feel as if a lot of teams are already writing us off, thinking we’ve had our window and missed it, for us that gives us even more motivation to prove we’ve had a few disappointing years but now it’s our time to step up.
“Round 1 we’ll be ready for them.”
It’s a landmark year for Queensland Rugby, with the Union celebrating its 140th anniversary.
The Reds unveiled their new jersey this week, designed by new apparel partner Canterbury of New Zealand, which features a limited-edition logo to commemorate the milestone.
“It’s a pretty special year coming up for us, 140-years is a long, long time,” Wilson said.
“It will be special to play in this jersey, and we’ve changed our shorts too to white which I like, it stands out a bit.
“We’re pretty pumped for this season.”
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