The legend of the Anglican Church Grammar School 2014 side continues to grow after the Wallabies squad selection of Liam Wright this week.
Reds flanker Wright was among three uncapped players named in Michael Cheika’s squad of 34 for the Rugby Championship opener in South Africa on July 20 after an outstanding Super Rugby season for Queensland.
But he is not the only member of Churchie’s GPS premiership-winning firsts to shine.
That team, coached by Jason Gilmore, who recently led the Junior Wallabies to the final of the World Rugby U20 championships in Argentina, also contained league converts Kalyn Ponga, Jayden Su’a and Brodie Croft, as well as Izzy Perese, who moved from the Reds to the Broncos late last year.
The captain of the Premiership team was Mack Mason, who made his Super Rugby debut in 2016 and is in line to replace Bernard Foley at the Waratahs following the World Cup.
Angus Scott-Young and Wright are regulars at the Reds and both were involved in Wallabies camps this season.
Richie Asiata played for the Australian U20s, while Harley Fox was contracted at the Melbourne Rebels before moving to Connacht in Ireland, in 2017.
LUCKY HAT CHAT
If Michael Cheika looked familiar when announcing his first Wallabies squad last week, that might have had something to do with his melon.
Or at least the thing on his melon.
The cap on Cheika’s head bore a striking resemblance to the official cap issued as part of Wallabies’ team kit at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
You know, the one where Australia defied expectation and made the final.
Given the Wallabies’ team hats have been different every year since, including this year, has Cheika reached into the wardrobe and pulled out his lucky hat for a second World Cup tilt?
Cheika is known to observe the odd superstition, with emphasis on the ‘odd’.
The Wallabies had one of those Chinese restaurant waving cat statues – maneki-neko – in the coach’s box for a long time and it would travel around the world with them.
SAMU SUPPORTS OLD MATES
Pete Samu used the downtime of a busted hamstring to jet over to Christchurch and support his former Crusaders teammates in their successful Super Rugby three-peat mission.
Samu was a member of the previous two victorious Crusaders sides, having come off the bench in both finals against the Lions.
The backrower was in superb form in the back half of the season for the Brumbies but pinged a hammy while scoring two tries in their quarter-final win over the Sharks.
Samu missed the trip to Buenos Aires for the Brumbies’ semi-final, and was subsequently also left off the Wallabies squad list for their trip to South Africa.
Samu was listed as unavailable through injury, which is significant given he’d been left out of the Wallabies’ most recent camp. It’s understood that came after Samu chose to miss a previous camp to attend a wedding.
But the form of Samu can’t be overlooked and it is likely he’ll back in the mix when the Wallabies take on Argentina in Brisbane.
It’s very hard to see Samu missing the World Cup squad but the Aussie sevens coaches would love to have him if that shock unfolded.
The Aussie sevens program have made it known they’re in the market for some experienced talent to bolster their squad, as they try to qualify for the Olympics at the Oceania qualifiers in November.
They were keen to get James O’Connor on board, and have circled the names of Tate McDermott and Tom Wright too.
Even the name of wily old Queensland veteran Bryce Hegarty has been floating around.
But for some reason, it’s understood states are reluctant to let their players depart for a few months and play sevens.
Watch that space.
Meanwhile the arrival of new recruit Trae “Quadzilla” Williams is upon us. He’ll train with the squad for the first time next week.
The Wallaroos take on Japan in Newcastle this week and to show their support, the girls rugby competitions up in the Newcastle and Hunter competition donned green and gold socks during their games last weekend.
There is also a fund-raising Wallaroos lunch run by the Australian Rugby Foundation on Friday, July 12. Money raised will go to the Wallaroos for Womens Rugby World Cup preparations and to and supporting womens/girls rugby in the Newcastle/Hunter region.
Tickets are available here.
The #GoldBlooded tour progressed up through the NSW snowfields this week, with Mark Gerrard, Stephen Hoiles joining Matt Cockbain on the latest stop of the nationwide trip.
What was learned was that Wally can ski – and well – and Cockbain can not.
And the 1999 World Cup winner was not happy with the lack of coaching.
Where is Rod Macqueen when you need him?