Big homecoming for Durban's Aussie 'export'
SUPER RUGBY SPOTLIGHT: Hearing an Australian speaking rhapsodically about ‘braais’ rather than ‘barbeques’ tells you a lot about his roots.
So to hear Reds flank Liam Wright, in a heavy Straya accent, talk about social gatherings in the Kings Park car park tells you he has strong roots in Durban.
And the 21-year-old was indeed born in the coastal city, where all his family still resides.
Speaking ahead of the Reds’ Round 10 encounter with the Sharks on Friday, Wright said it is “awesome” to be back training and playing in front of his extended family.
“It has been a while since I have seen my aunties and uncles, so I am enjoying it here,” he said at the Reds’ training base in Durban.
There are two other South Africans in the Reds team – twin brothers Jean-Pierre and Ruan Smith.
The three of them will be bogarting the team’s allocation of tickets.
“Apart from the Smith brothers, I will be taking pretty much all the tickets,” said Wright.
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His mom is from Durban and his dad is from Zimbabwe.
They moved to Johannesburg, through his father’s work, and then moved to Australia in 2004 – age seven.
He was brought up in Sydney, but finished his schooling in Brisbane. When his parents moved back to Sydney, he stayed behind in Brisbane and started carving out a career with the Reds.
All his family are still in Durban, with just his parents, his sister and Wright in Australia.
“To play in front of them is going to be a huge honour this week,” he said, adding: “I remember going to Kings Park when we were younger, lots of braais in the car park, just a really good atmosphere.
“People enjoy their rugby. I am looking forward to it.”
The openside flank said he is enjoying his rugby, after ‘bulking up’ in the off-season.
“I am enjoying having a bit more size on me, being able to compete with the bigger boys a bit,” he said, adding: “It is great to get a lot of footy under my belt.
“Physically there is a big difference in my game.”
He said he also learnt a lot from Wallaby legend George Smith last year – the ins-and-outs of being a No.7.”