It was once written that “if rugby players were canines, openside flankers would unquestionably be Australian Cattle Dogs - a huge appetite for work, fearless in the field and loyal to the end”. That description is Fraser McReight in a nutshell.
One of Australia’s most decorated aged representative rugby players, McReight is seen by many as the heir apparent to Michael Hooper’s near-decade long stranglehold on both the Wallaby number seven jersey and the captaincy.
A tremendous link player, McReight played his junior rugby with the Albany Creek Brumbies RC. He completed his secondary education at Brisbane Grammar School three seasons (2014-16) in the 1st XV - the first as an inside centre - from where he represented Australian Schools (2016).
An ankle injury denied McReight a 2017 National Rugby Championship debut with Queensland Country before he twice represented Australia U20s (2018-19), the second year as captain, and collected successive Junior Wallabies’ player of the year awards. McReight signed with the Reds in 2018 and made his Super Rugby debut the following year, against the Brumbies in Brisbane. That same season, McReight led the Junior Wallabies to their first Oceania U20s title, a run that included a memorable 24-0 victory over New Zealand.
In 2020, McReight made his Test debut, against New Zealand in Sydney. Since that time McReight has continued to play second fiddle to Hooper, a situation that in the past had seem the likes of Liam Gill move offshore. McReight has a different perspective: “The positive I take out of that is not many people get to be in this position and see the work Hoops puts himself through, week in, week out, and for me to get the opportunity to see what he does on the field and off the field as well, that was fortunate. To watch and listen, it’s a wonderful learning and growth opportunity.”
McReight’s patience was rewarded in 2022 when, in Hooper’s absence, he started in four consecutive Tests, a run that included a near man-of-the-match, two-try effort against South Africa in Adelaide. A frank discussion with incoming Wallaby coach Eddie Jones has McReight focussed on particular defensive “work-ons” and recalibrated the flanker’s focus. “It was a good conversation,” McReight said. “It’s not recreating the wheel or anything, it’s just keep doing the basics right.”
Highlights 2016 Represented Australian Schools against Samoan Schools (W 50-10) and New Zealand Schools (W 32-22)
2018 Represented Australia at the 11th annual World Rugby U20s Championship in France.
2019 Captained Australia to runners-up at the 12th annual World Rugby U20s Championship in Argentina.
2020 McReight won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Harry Wilson in the 68th minute of the 5-43, third Test loss to New Zealand in Sydney.
2021 He played a single Test, again as a replacement, against New Zealand at Eden Park.
2022 McReight played eight Tests including six as the starting openside flanker. He made his first run-on XV appearance in the 1st Test, 41-26 victory over Argentina in Mendoza.