Australia: Fraser McReight ready to take his chance upon rare Wallabies start

David Skippers
Fraser McReight Australia v SA RC 2022 - PA.jpg

Wallabies openside flanker Fraser McReight is ready to take his chance when he makes his first appearance during the Autumn Nations Series in Saturday’s clash against Italy in Florence.

The 23-year-old has endured a frustrating time of it in the international arena as he has been forced to play second fiddle to legendary Wallabies number seven Michael Hooper.

Set for rare Test start

He failed to make Australia‘s matchday squads for their most recent end-of-year Tests against Scotland and France but, with Hooper rested this weekend, McReight is set to make a rare Test start.

“It’s hard being behind Hoops. He’s the highest-calibre player in the game,” he told AAP.

“The coaches just want me to rip in with every chance I get, whether that’s through training or games like this weekend.

“They just want me to go out there and absolutely rip in and hopefully that can lead to some more game time.”

McReight will make only his fifth Wallabies start since 2020 but knows that he is unlikely to retain the number seven jersey for their clash with World Rugby’s number one-ranked side, Ireland, in Dublin on November 19.

But with Wallabies boss Dave Rennie ringing the changes after their narrow defeat to France last week, McReight said the new players in the matchday squad are determined to make an impact against the Azzurri.

“Everyone wants to push and make the coach’s job really hard to select,” he said.

“Whether it’s training or through performances, you want to be able to push and give them a headache.

“But in the back of your mind, you sort of know what’s going to happen regardless of the result on the weekend.

“It’s about going out there doing the best I can, showing Dave (Rennie), showing the other coaches what I can do.”

McReight is looking forward to packing down in a new-look back-row with Ned Hanigan and Pete Samu, who will start on the blindside flank and at number eight respectively.

Keen to do well

“I’m super excited,” McReight said.

“It’s a different dynamic. All three of us have never really played together.

“Peter’s hard on the ball, explosive around the park. Ned’s explosive as well, so hopefully we can complement each other really well.”

READ MORE: Autumn Nations Series preview: Wallabies to defeat a brave Italy side in Florence