Aussie prospect Fraser McReight looked up to Sam Warburton and George Smith growing up

Australia U20 back-row Fraser McReight

Date of birth 19 February 1999 Born Buderim, QLD Franchise Reds Country Australia Position Back-row

What sports have you played?

I’ve played cricket and rugby most of my life, starting as early as I could. However, I stopped playing cricket to turn my attention to volleyball at 15.

I first got involved with rugby when I was five, for the Albany Creek Brumbies for ten years. I loved it – I basically got put into rugby because I had too much energy for my mum and dad! I started playing for Brisbane Grammar School at 13 and for two years played schools rugby on Saturday and club rugby on Sunday.

Talk us through your representative honours…

Queensland U18 Sevens, Queensland Schoolboys and Australia Schoolboys.

I played for the Junior Wallabies in the Oceania U20 Championship and Junior World Cup last year as well as this year.

What do you like about rugby?

I love competing but I also enjoy the mateship and the celebrations after a game; having a beer in the sheds with your best mates!

Who were your childhood heroes?

I loved watching Sam Warburton’s highlights on YouTube. And George Smith because of Rugby 2005 (PlayStation game). He was on the cover and I remember his awesome dreads!

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

My first XV coaches and my coaches who had me in my first year at Brothers after I left school just made me enjoy my rugby, but most importantly my parents.

I was going to get moved to prop at 14 because I was chunky, but Mum blew up at the coaches. I was able to grow and slim up, and that’s why I’m here now!

My parents ride the waves of emotions with me but only want the best for me.

What are your strengths?

Leadership… and my running and support game.

When did you link up with Queensland Reds?

I signed a two-year contract before the 2019 season. It’s been awesome to learn off some experienced players and the team is still young, so we all get along.

What do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?

To start for the Reds – get solid game time week in, week out, and then everything after that should take care of itself.

How do you switch off from rugby?

I play golf. I’m also studying business, majoring in accounting, at Queensland University of Technology.

RW VERDICT: One of the standout performers in the U20 World Cup, where he led his team to the final for the first time since 2010, McReight marries his physicality with brilliant skills in the loose. Expect to see him become a Reds regular in 2020.

This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Rugby World magazine.

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