When the Junior Wallabies went within one point of a maiden under-20s World Cup last year, the hope was that Australian rugby was on the cusp of a golden new generation.
A historic seven-year drought-breaking 18-14 win by Australia’s Schoolboys over New Zealand across the ditch reinforced the feeling the pathways were working and there was light at the end of a 17-year Bledisloe Cup black tunnel.
Now, two of the most exciting prospects in Australian rugby, Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings, as well as a third established young Wallaby, Izack Rodda, are all but guaranteed to head overseas after their contracts were terminated by opting not to sign Rugby Australia’s player pay cuts during COVID-19.
Yet last year’s Junior Wallabies captain, Fraser McReight, who has been picked in Dave Rennie’s Players of National Interest squad despite playing just 121 minutes of Super Rugby, believes the future remains bright.
“We have Scott Johnson, who’s pretty much new as director of rugby, three new Wallaby coaches and we have pretty much a brand new younger generation coming through. I played with the under-20s, but even the 18s, I think Australian rugby’s definitely in the right direction,” McReight told Wide World of Sports.
“Obviously, we have a new interim CEO and a new chairman-elect too, so there’s lots of changes happening as well, but that’s not a negative thing, I