Queensland Reds co-captain Liam Wright has re-signed with Queensland Rugby through 2024.
After debuting in 2018, Wright has earnt 58 caps for his state including 27 as captain.
In an innovative two-year deal, the contract will see the backrower available to play overseas during the Super Rugby Pacific off-season should he not be selected for the Wallabies.
Wright said: “I am very proud to be re-signing with the Reds for the next two seasons.
“The thrill and honour of wearing the Queensland jersey drives me immensely, and injuries over the past two seasons have only made that desire grow.
“I am looking forward to continuing the journey we as players, staff and Queenslanders have undertaken to improve this great club.
“I would like to thank our supporters, Brad, Sam and all the Reds for their support. I’m excited for what’s ahead.”
Red General Manager of Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “Liam’s an important part of the Queensland Reds, his instinct has always been to put the club first.
“Whilst his focus is very much on Queensland and national selection, Liam has earned the flexibility to explore playing opportunities abroad within this contract term.
“It’s great news for the Reds to have Liam committed to our 2023 and 2024 seasons.”
Born in South Africa, Wright attended Brisbane’s Anglican Church Grammar School and was a key part of Brad Thorn’s title-winning Queensland U20s sides in 2016 and 2017.
The backrower made his Super Rugby debut in the opening round of the 2018 season alongside now fellow co-captain Tate McDermott, and went on to finish runner-up in the Pilecki Medal count in just his second season for the Reds in 2019.
Wright was handed the captaincy in 2020 and led Queensland to the Super Rugby AU final the same year.
A torrid injury run over the last two seasons has reduced Wright’s time on-field, however the Easts product notched his 50th cap in 2021 after leading the Reds to the Super Rugby AU title alongside James O’Connor.
The 24-year-old debuted for the Wallabies in 2019 and has earnt five caps for Australia.
He joins the likes of Jordan Petaia, Jock Campbell, Josh Flook, Luke Jones and Ryan Smith in committing to Queensland Rugby through 2024.
Place of birth: Durban, South Africa
Senior Club: Easts
School: Anglican Church Grammar School
Queensland debut: 23/02/2018 v Melbourne Rebels, AAMI Park, Melbourne
Queensland caps: 58
Wallabies debut: 17/08/2019 v New Zealand, Eden Park, Auckland
Wallabies caps: 5
Chay Fihaki Re-Signs with the Crusaders
Dynamic young utility back Chay Fihaki has re-signed with the Crusaders presenting exciting prospects for the team taking the field in the 2023 season.
Fihaki signed with the Crusaders in 2020 as a 19 year old and has since gone from strength to strength, playing seven matches in the red and black and showing great potential.
During his youth career, Fihaki played through the midfield, but as he has progressed through Canterbury and Crusaders’ development pathways, he has nestled into a role at fullback.
Fihaki’s mission for 2023 will be to soak up as much knowledge as possible from some of his All Black teammates.
“I’m feeling excited about the season coming up. 2023 will be another year for me to grow, especially learning off the more senior players and All Blacks,” Fihaki said.
“My focus will definitely be on being more confident and backing my skillset.”
Fihaki’s X-Factor has been outlined by Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson, who said, “Chay has a massive boot and the ability to create something from nothing”.
Keep an eye out for Fihaki this season in the red and black!
NSW Waratahs secure schoolboy talent Max Jorgensen
The NSW Waratahs have secured the services of one of the brightest schoolboy rugby talents in Australia, signing Max Jorgensen.
Max Jorgensen, son of former Wallaby and NRL player Peter Jorgensen, is currently in Year 12 at St Joseph’s College and has spent three years in the NSW system representing the Waratahs Academy at U15, U16, and U18 age levels.
The talented outside back spent time in Nathan Grey’s Junior Wallabies program earlier this year and has been named in the Waratahs Development team to take on a Brumbies XV at St Edmunds College this Saturday in Canberra.
Max Jorgensen said: “I’m proud to be on board with the Waratahs, they have a terrific setup, and the new Centre of Excellence looks amazing.
“I am excited by the opportunities in rugby over the next few years and looking forward to playing high-quality rugby with some amazing players at the Waratahs.
“I’m focused on having a great pre-season and can’t wait to learn from the coaching staff and experienced teammates.”
Waratahs Head Coach, Darren Coleman said: “Securing Max is a positive outcome, not only for the Waratahs but for Australian rugby, as he is one of the elite schoolboys from the class of 2022 and highly sought after.
“It’s great he has decided to remain at the Waratahs especially after spending the past three years in our academy.
“Max understands he has a long way to go and a lot of work to do before he can become a fully-fledged Super Rugby player, but we look forward to working with him and helping him develop his game.”
ACT Brumbies sign Sevens star Ben O’Donnell
The ACT Brumbies are excited to announce the addition of outside-back Ben O’Donnell to the club’s Super Rugby Pacific squad until the end of 2024.
The 26-year-old returns to Australia after a three-year stint in Ireland with Connacht, having previously represented Australia in Sevens on 95 occasions, winning Rugby Australia’s coveted Shawn Mackay award for Sevens player of the year in 2018.
O’Donnell is in line to wear ACT colours for the first time in Saturday’s practice match against a NSW Waratahs development side at St. Edmund’s College.
ACT Brumbies outside-back, Ben O’Donnell said: “I’m excited to be back in Australia and to be joining such a highly respected club like the ACT Brumbies.”
“Playing in Connacht was an unreal experience and I’m grateful for my time there and the mates I made but I’m looking forward to working every day with a world-class coaching staff and the boys here who have created a great culture from everything I have heard.
“Preseasons never get any easier but I’m excited for the hard work and especially looking forward to having a run around with my new teammates on Saturday.”
ACT Brumbies head coach, Stephen Larkham said: “Ben will be a quality addition to our group.”
“Ben was a very accomplished 7s player, and he’s made a good transition to 15s, but we feel he’s got a great chance to develop further in our environment.
“With his pace and feel for the game, Ben’s an option across the backline and we’re excited to see how he goes on Saturday.”
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