Reds snare Wilson, Hoopert to long-term deals to further bolster pack

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

The Reds have locked in arguably the deepest back row in Australia after inking a long-term deal with exciting no.8 Harry Wilson.

The Junior Wallabies star, who was named Queensland Premier Rugby's Alec Evans Medallist as player of the year earlier this month despite playing just seven games due to his Australian U20 commitments, has signed with the Reds until after the next World Cup in 2023.

Despite the loss of more than 100 games of Super Rugby experience from the back row with the departure of former captain Scott Higginbotham and Caleb Timu, the Reds are more than comfortable they have home-grown talent that covers that loss.

Harry Wilson has been one of the Junior Wallabies' most consistent performers in the U20 world championships. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

With the Reds back row already boasting Wallabies Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Liam Wright, as well as Angus Scott-Young and Junior Wallabies captain Fraser McReight, the addition of Wilson, 19, will create an incredible level of competition that is likely to drive each player to a new standard.

“It’s an awesome feeling knowing I’ve re-signed with Queensland for the next four years with a lot of my great mates," Wilson said.

“There’s a great group building here, and I can’t wait to be around that success with Queensland rugby.”

And in a further sign Queensland rugby is backing its own development systems to deliver a Super Rugby title, the Reds have also locked in exciting prop Harry Hoopert until 2022.

Prop Harry Hoopert has been named to make his first run-on start for the Reds. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

Hoopert, 20, made his first run-on start for the Reds in their drought-breaking win over the Sharks in Durban, holding his own in the front row against Springbok veteran Coenie Oosthuizen.

“It’s great to stay in Queensland for the next three years," Dalby Wheatman product Hoopert said.

“It’s a really good group here. I’ve got some close mates and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I’m excited for the future and what we can achieve together.”

Reds head coach Brad Thorn said it was great to see the pair remain in Queensland.

“Harry Hoopert has played 17 games now for Queensland and he’s not even 21," Thorn said.

Harry Hoopert with a young Reds fan. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel

“He was rewarded for his hard work this year with his first start over in Durban. He packed down against a world-class Sharks front row and held his own.

“Harry Wilson is an exciting young prospect. It’s great to have him here for the next four years.

“He’s got plenty of skill for a backrower. We look forward to seeing him continue his development at Queensland."

Wilson and Hoopert become the latest Reds to notch long-term deals, with the club locking up players that have already won U20 titles with Queensland and been under Thorn's tutelage for several years.

SQUAD

Reds players locked in for 2020 and beyond:

Taniela Tupou (2023)

Angus Blyth (2023)

Fraser McReight (2023)

Tate McDermott (2023)

Harry Wilson (2023)

Harry Hoopert (2022)

Alex Mafi (2022)

Jordan Petaia (2022)

Hamish Stewart (2022)

Liam Wright (2021)

Angus Scott-Young (2021)

James O’Connor (2021)

Henry Speight (2021)

Brandon Peanga-Amosa (2021)

Bryce Hegarty (2021)

Feao Fotuaika (2021)

Izack Rodda (2020)

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (2020)

Ruan Smith (2020)

JP Smith (2020)

Harry Hockings (2020)

Harry Wilson (2020)

Moses Sorovi (2020)

Jock Campbell (2020)

Filipo Daugunu (2020)

Jack Hardy (2020)

Chris Feauai-Sautia (2020)