Richie Arnold's winding road to a Super Rugby debut

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

From Wagga Wagga to Perth, Richie Arnold has followed a winding road to his potential Super Rugby debut.

The identical twin of Brumbies and Wallabies lock Rory Arnold has been on the Force's books for 18 months but he gets his first chance to test himself at Super Rugby level tomorrow night, having battled a myriad of injuries.

A fractured foot, bulging disc in his back and a shoulder injury last year, followed by a knee knock after the Brisbane Tens this year, have stunted his growth at the professional level.

He now has his chance to mirror his brother's meteoric rise after being named on the bench for tomorrow's clash with the Crusaders.Richie Arnold's brother Rory has made quite an impact on the Brumbies. Photo: Getty Images"I picked up a knee injury after the Brisbane Tens which has kept me out for a few weeks but I was really excited when Dave (Wessels) told me he wanted me to come to New Zealand and play when I got myself right," Arnold told RUGBY.com.au.

"The NRC was really good for me - I had never tested myself against some of the top Super players so now to get the chance to play at Super Rugby level on Friday is exciting."

Raised in Murwillumbah before joining the now defunct Gold Coast Breakers Premier Rugby side - Richie and Rory have always drawn eyes due to their natural physiques - Richie standing at 208cm tall and 127kg.

But as Rory progressed through the Brumbies ranks to earn a Wallabies debut, Richie has battled away for Queensland Country in the NRC before earning a full time contract at the Force, hampered by the aforementioned injuries along the way.Richie will look to emulate Rory when he takes on the Crusaders tomorrow night. Photo: Getty Images"We are very similar players in the way we play but we will have to wait and see how I go at Super Rugby level first before I compare myself to him (Rory)," Richie told RUGBY.com.au.

"It's definitely inspirational to see how quickly he went through the ranks and how he played so well straight away - to go from Super level straight through to the Wallabies.

Keen watchers of the NRC can attest to Richie and Rory's similarities.

The pair are lineout aficionados that pride themselves on carrying the ball over the gain line in attack.

If Richie can take his game to the next level as his brother has so aptly done, it will be a major boost to the second row stocks of Australian rugby.

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