The ‘Junkyard Dog’ remains coy on Test ambitions as Joe Schmidt prepares for Wales

David Skippers
Tim Ryan and Joe Schmidt image.jpg

Reds speedster Tim Ryan and Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt.

After announcing himself with several outstanding performances for the Reds in recent weeks, young flyer Tim Ryan has emerged as a genuine contender for a call-up to the Wallabies squad.

Ryan initially made some appearances off the replacements bench before making his run-on debut for the Brisbane-based outfit in a home clash against the Blues in Round 10 of Super Rugby Pacific, and although the Reds finished on the losing side, he stole the show as he crossed for a hat-trick of tries.

Continued to shine

The 20-year-old followed that up by scoring a brace of five-pointers in a winning display against the Crusaders in Christchurch the following week and showed that he is no flash in the pan by crossing for another try as the Reds beat the Melbourne Rebels in Brisbane in Round 12.

He started on the bench in their next game but only received 20 minutes of action as the Reds suffered a defeat against the Fijian Drua in Suva but has been recalled to the starting line-up for Saturday’s derby with the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium.

Know as the ‘Junkyard Dog’ to his team-mates, Ryan’s displays for the Reds certainly caught the attention of incoming Wallabies head coach Joe Schmidt, who spoke glowingly of his exploits at Super Rugby level shortly after that hat-trick against the Blues.

“We definitely want people to stay and be part of the Wallabies set up, but I love it when someone is unavailable, and suddenly, we uncover a kid who didn’t just score those tries, he finished them superbly,” said Schmidt at the time.

“That’s something that excites me, the kids like Tim Ryan coming through. If we do lose people we’ll be disappointed, but if we do, my mindset is let’s get this guy in and build a combination and go forward.”

But despite earning praise from Schmidt, Ryan is not getting carried away by talk of him being a possible bolter for the Wallabies’ upcoming Tests against Wales and Georgia in July.

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“I’m not really focusing on that. I get where the excitement comes from – you’ve got Darby Lancaster [from the Rebels] as well, so there’s a lot of young talent coming through,” Ryan told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“Obviously, it would be pretty cool, and as a young kid, I would always watch the Wallabies, so it is a big dream of mine.

“But I’m not really focused on that at the moment, I’m just focused on the Reds… we’ve got a bigger job ahead of us leading into finals.”

Backing from Reds coach

Apart from Ryan, Reds head coach Les Kiss has also backed other youngsters like Tom Lynagh, Josh Flook, Harry McLaughlin-Phillips and Mac Grealy in Super Rugby and is confident they can make the step up to Test level with the Wallabies.

“I won’t try and predict what [Schmidt] is looking for, but I do know he’ll be looking for people who are in form, people who do the little things well, people who nail the first role of their position, and someone who contributes to their environment in a positive way,” said Kiss.

“What we’ve seen from Timmy, it’s more than exciting, you just relish the prospect of what’s going to be in the future for him.

“All those guys – Tommy, Timmy and Flooky – they all do that, so that’s the baseline for any selection going on … and they’re bloody good footballers to boot.”

READ MORE: Schmidt’s List: Brumbies continue to lead the way while Force quartet also catching the eye