Queensland Reds rookie Liam Wright says being brought into the Wallabies camp this week was ‘completely random’.
Wright was the bolter in Michael Cheika’s squad for the Barbarians match in Sydney on Saturday, the only player in the 28-man group without a Super Rugby cap to his name.
Rugby has long been an obsession for South African-born Wright, who grew up idolising Springboks and watching Tests with his dad, before his family moved to Australia.
It wasn’t until the Queensland U20s captain began to watch mates graduate into the gold jersey that he truly switched his allegiance, but he is well-entrenched in Australian rugby.
If punters were surprised by Wright’s call-up, they’d have nothing on his shock when the email landed in his inbox on Friday morning.
“(It was) completely random,” he said.
“I got an email Friday morning before we took off to Fiji (with Queensland Country) so it was on my mind a bit all weekend but I’m pretty excited and glad to be here but the boys are all really nice and helped me out so it’s really good.
Wright, who captained Queensland to a second straight Super U20s title this season, watched as his former underage teammates Lukhan Tui and Izack Rodda graduated into Super Rugby and Wallabies ranks this year, and has been keen to pick their brains.
“They're pretty young heads as well and they're getting a real crack,” he said.
“It's good to see them come back with a bit more experience and pass it down to us.
“I'm only maybe a year or so younger and they grow so quickly, so to pick up that experience from helps a lot massively.”
Wright isn’t exactly sure what put him in Michael Cheika’s sights, but he reckons he has Queensland U20s and Country coach Brad Thorn for at least part of his improvement this year, with the former All Black not a fan of taking shortcuts.
“He's just been all about that mindset and attitude, (making sure you’re) wanting to be tough and grow your game and everything,” he said.
“I think that's a massive key that separates between that ability to improve your game or not.
“It's really if you want to do it, it's up to you and it's not an easy ride.”
Wright plays mainly as a seven, but is taller than many of his openside counterparts, hoping to develop the versatility to play across the backrow.
He could be in contention to follow players like Izaia Perese and Jack Dempsey as a development player on Spring Tour, but he’s happy to just learn what he can in camp.
“Any opportunity to be in this sort of environment is one you really relish. I'm enjoying this week so far but I don't want to get too far ahead of myself,” he said.
“All the time I'm getting at the moment, learning from such experienced heads like Stephen Moore and Hoops and that, when they're around, it's unreal.”
The Wallabies take on the Barbarians in Sydney on Saturday October 28, kicking off at 3pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and Network Ten.