McDermott: Milestone man Uru 'knocking on door' of Wallaby gold

Thu, Jun 6, 2024, 5:30 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

Queensland co-captain Tate McDermott has backed milestone Red Seru Uru for higher honours ahead of their quarter final blockbuster against the Chiefs.

After four years flitting between the back row and engine room, Uru, 27, has enjoyed a breakout season at lock alongside the recently re-signed Ryan Smith with both men shaping as Wallaby bolters under Joe Schmidt.

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Uru's free-wheeling attack and groundspeed receives plenty of praise but his new-found defensive and set-piece starch is often overlooked across 10 starts in 2024.

Speaking to media from Hamilton, McDermott said Uru - who will earn his 50th Queensland cap against the Chiefs - would be deserving of a gold jersey should the opportunity arise.

“I think he’s been knocking at the door the last couple of years,” McDermott said.

“I’m really happy for Seru, we saw him come in a couple of years back and he wasn’t quite sure if he was a second rower or a six but this year he’s been unbelievable for us.

“We value his work immensely. He’s got the offloading, ability to break the line, the speed and he’s really worked hard to improve his defensive capabilities as well.

“But the way he’s grafted away at his set piece has been phenomenal and I can’t wait to see Seru lead us out tomorrow night.”

In many ways, Uru’s progress mirrors the Reds as a unit – raw talent that's slowly been refined through 2024.

Now, a deja’vu quarter final clash with the Chiefs shape an ideal test to see just how far Queensland have come this season.

“A lot can change in 12 months and a lot has changed in 12 months,” McDermott said.

“We limped into the finals last year whereas this year we’ve had a decent year, we’ve played a good brand of footy which we can be proud of and hopefully our supporters can be proud of.”

“Last year we didn’t need drastic changes because we weren’t far off. We tinkered with a couple of things and you’re seeing a far better and improved set piece team.

“We’ve also seen a big shift in our attacking breakdown and I think the way we want to play, we need that to be permanent every game.

McDermott will again co-captain alongside Liam Wright with Tom Lynagh backed to deliver in the flyhalf role against All Blacks ace Damian McKenzie.

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