Reds wild about egg-loving Harry
HARRY Wilson has been devouring eight eggs a day to add helpful bulk for his Super Rugby debut for the Queensland Reds on Friday night.
Trials in Gladstone and Dalby were sketched as auditions but he was so impressive in both that he was today's easy selection at No.8 to play the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.
Ushering in the 1.95m Junior Wallabies graduate instantly adds what every Super Rugby pack is looking for but struggles to find.
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Wilson, 20, has that happy knack for timing his bullocking runs so that he invariably makes metres in contact and his off-loads are natural rather than high risk.
In the trial against the Waratahs in Dalby last Friday night, he picked up a sweat-coated ball at the back of the scrum, ploughed through two defenders and got his right arm free to plant it one-handed for a try.
He throws around his 112kg as if every kilo is meant to count and you can't miss him under his trademark red headgear.
Elsewhere in the pack, Wallabies regular Izack Rodda will come off the bench after not playing a minute in the pre-season trials.
The key lock had surgery on an ankle stress fracture after the World Cup late last year and returned to full contact training this week.
It means Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and young Angus Blyth will start as locks.
Skipper Liam Wright is at openside flanker while Angus Scott-Young will be the third backrow link with Wilson.
Wilson is already happy with the "egg-cellent" results from his off-season diet.
"I'm a bit of a fussy eater but there are always eight eggs a day in there somewhere whether they are fried for brekky or hard-boiled and cut up on salads," Wilson said.
"Having that extra 2kg makes a difference to your confidence in contact and I also did plenty of agility work during the off-season."
Wilson also has an added advantage because young flyhalf Isaac Lucas, 20, has been tuned to Wilson looming in support since their 2016 schooldays in the Gregory Terrace First XV.
"I've tried to take the confidence from last year and back myself more," Wilson said.
"Even though I didn't play a game for the Reds last year, it was a huge benefit training with the boys and getting to know them.
"I know their strengths on the field and maybe they know my strengths now."
The Brothers product is the only Super Rugby debutant in the Reds' starting side but young prop Dane Zander, backrower Seru Uru and hard-running centre Hunter Paisami will get chances to debut from the bench.
Reds coach Brad Thorn wisely used both trials to bed down the framework for his starting backline.
Wallabies Jordan Petaia and James O'Connor will be a dangerous centre pairing outside young halves Lucas and Tate McDermott.
Recruit Henry Speight and 2019's big improver Jock Campbell will start on the wing with Bryce Hegarty at fullback.
Alex Mafi has forfeited his 2019 hooking spot because 2018 Wallaby Brandon Paenga-Amosa was more impressive in the trials.
REDS (v Brumbies, Friday night, 6.15pm Qld/7.15pm Canberra): Bryce Hegarty, Henry Speight, Jordan Petaia, James O'Connor, Jock Campbell, Isaac Lucas, Tate McDermott, Harry Wilson, Liam Wright (c), Angus Scott-Young, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Blyth, Taniela Tupou, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, JP Smith. Reserves: Alex Mafi, Dane Zander, Feao Fotuaika, Izack Rodda, Seru Uru, Moses Sorovi, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami