A former Australian Schools and Under-20s captain, LIAM GILL made a notable introduction to Test ranks last term, having earlier led Australia at the Under-20 Junior World Championship.
In doing so, he joined a select group of players from across the globe who have achieved the feat of transferring age-grade World Cup representation into Test status in the same year.
Gill earned eight caps in his debut year and followed it up with a further two during the 2013 British & Irish Lions series.
The open-side flanker came on as a replacement in both the first and second Tests. The first Test saw Gill come on as a replacement for Pat McCabe, moving to flanker when Michael Hooper moved to the centres as the Wallabies suffered an unprecedented number of injuries to the backline that match.
The second Test saw him replace Wycliff Palu in the 60th minute and create his own piece of history in the late stages of the match, stealing the ball from the Lions’ throw in to the lineout deep in the Wallabies half to help Australia to a win to keep the series alive.
Rather than being dropped for form, Gill was unfortunate to miss out on a spot in the 23 for the third Test, with the return to fitness of veteran flanker George Smith impossible to ignore as he returned to the Wallabies for the first time since announcing his retirement from international Rugby in 2009.
The 21-year-old had been touted as a future international ever since he ended his Schoolboy career captaining Australian Schools on the 2009 tour of the United Kingdom. This award followed a man of the match performance when Australia lost narrowly to New Zealand Schools at Brisbane prior to the tour departure.
A product of Gregory Terrace College, Gill was introduced to the Australian Sevens side in his first year out of school, making his debut at Las Vegas in 2010 before featuring at the Adelaide and Hong Kong tournaments.
This paved the way for selection in Australia’s silver medal-winning Commonwealth Games team at the New Delhi tournament in India. Gill scored four tries at that tournament including one of Australia’s three tries in the 17-7 win over South Africa in the semi-finals. Earlier in 2010, Gill had been forced to miss the final two tournaments of the 2009-10 IRB Sevens World Series, including Australia’s win at the London Sevens, in order to attend the Under-20 Junior World Championship in Argentina. Although Australia didn’t win that tournament in Rosario, it did make the final for the first time, which was some compensation for missing out on the London Sevens success.
Gill returned to Rosario last year, making a cameo performance off the bench during the Wallabies’ gritty 25-19 win over Argentina which secured a second-placed finish in the inaugural Castrol EDGE Rugby Championship. Gill featured in the final five games of the Rugby Championship, after making his debut as a replacement in the daunting atmosphere of Eden Park against a confident All Blacks side. That the experience of playing the world’s best hadn’t fazed the then 20-year-old was showcased two months later when he made an important contribution at the back end of Australia’s 18-18 draw with New Zealand in the third Bledisloe Cup Test at Brisbane.
Gill debuted in Super Rugby in 2011, taking his first steps on an historic night where Queensland recorded its first ever win over the Brumbies in Canberra. That result set the Reds on their way to a maiden Super Rugby title, with Gill quickly becoming a key member of the side, to the extent that he was forced to forgo participation at the 2011 Under-20 Junior World Championship, for which he was eligible.
He appeared nine times for the Reds in the 2011 title win, which included appearances off the bench in the wins over the Blues and Crusaders in the semi-final and final respectively.
Prior to his selection for the Qantas Wallabies last term, he assumed the number one ranking as the Reds open-side, relegating the one-Test 2011 Wallabies number 7, Beau Robinson, to a role as a support act.
FAST FACT: He might be just 21 this year but Liam Gill has been around. The impressive young flanker was born in Victoria but has since spent time in the United States and South Australia before his family found their way to Queensland.