Former Rugby League star eyeing Wallabies cap
SPOTLIGHT: After a whirlwind week capped by the Super Rugby AU crown, Brumbies wing Tom Wright has hardly had time to think about his Wallabies squad selection.
A highly-rated schoolboy prospect, Wright has long been touted as a future Test player but his career took a detour with three years playing for Manly in the NRL.
The 23-year-old is now on the cusp of Australian selection after being named in new coach Dave Rennie’s 44-strong squad for next month’s Bledisloe Cup matches in New Zealand followed by the Rugby Championship.
Rejoining rugby in 2019, Wright has been one of the Brumbies’ best this season, helping steer the Canberra side to a five-point victory in the grand final over Queensland on Saturday.
After spending Sunday celebrating, Wright and 12 of his title-winning Brumbies teammates hit the road to Cessnock in the NSW Hunter Valley to start the Wallabies’ preparations for next month’s two battles with the All Blacks in Wellington and Auckland.
He said he hadn’t thought too much about what lies ahead.
“Not too much, we got the news the week prior to the grand final so that was our focus,” Wright said on Monday.
“On the way up there it will be something where we can have time to reflect on the opportunity that we’ve got, but not so much yet.”
Wright knows young Waratahs James Ramm and Tom Horton from his Sydney school days but is happy to have his Brumbies brethren around him in the new environment.
He’s far from alone with 16 uncapped rookies in Rennies new-look Wallabies squad.
“That’s the best part of being a part of team sport as you get to have success individually but then collectively … you want to see guys in your side succeed,” Wright said.
While Test regular Marika Koroibete has one Wallabies’ wing berth nailed down, the other is up for grabs.
A consistent performer, Wright has excellent footwork, acceleration and solid defence.
A former flyhalf, he also has a strong kicking game which gives him an edge among some wing rivals.
“I’m really excited,” he said.
“Obviously it will be something new for me so I’m looking forward to the challenges of trying to get a jersey and getting to meet new people and training at the highest level.”
The Wallabies are awaiting clearance from the New Zealand government before flying to Christchurch on Friday or Saturday.