Harry Wilson is a tireless, high-energy, barnstorming, bull-at-a-gate No.8 who, like Noah Lolesio has become a victim of consistency, or lack thereof in Wallaby selection policy.
Wilson played his first rugby aged four for the local junior Gunnedah Red Devils. When Harry was 10, the family left Gunnedah for Brisbane where his dad Cameron was appointed State Livestock Manager for Elders. Young Harry Wilson did not want to become a Queenslander and he went to great lengths to sabotage the move when interviewed for a spot at St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace. Nonetheless, Terrace it was to be, and Wilson went on to play two years of 1st XV (2016-17) from where he won selection for both Queensland I Schools and Australian Schools.
After graduation, the Brothers’ young gun played for Queensland Country in the National Rugby Championship. In 2018 Wilson was the Queensland U19s player of the year and the following year he starred - in a backrow that included Fraser McReight and Will Harris - as the Junior Wallabies made the final of the World Rugby U20s World Championship. Later in 2019 Wilson picked up the NRC Rising Star award as the best young player competition wide. One of the judges wrote at the time: “He [Wilson] played nearly every minute for Queensland Country this year and in light of everything he achieved it’s scary to think he is just 20 years old. Watch this space.”
In the 2020 COVID-interrupted Super Rugby season, Wilson made his senior debut for Queensland, against the Brumbies in Canberra. Wilson’s early form in that tournament saw retired All Black and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson wax lyrical about the Reds’ backrower: “I’ve officially fallen for, have I mentioned, Harry Wilson,” Robertson said. “As an ex-number eight, his ability to set a bit of footwork is special.” Dave Rennie clearly agreed when he selected Wilson, after just 17 senior matches, to play his first Test, against New Zealand in Wellington.
Wilson played 10 of the Wallabies 11 Tests through to the second Test against New Zealand in 2021 before he was left out of the match-day squad for the rest of the Rugby Championship. In a further surprise, to the rugby public at least, Wilson - “by mutual decision” - was not selected for the Spring Tour. He saw the omission as an opportunity to work on the improvements asked of him by coach Dave Rennie, including power, speed off the mark, agility and footwork [at the line], as well as enjoying 'living a normal life.' Clearly something clicked as Wilson went on to top the 2022 Super Rugby competition in carries and waltz away with his maiden Stan Pilecki Medal, awarded to Reds player of the year.
2017 Represented Australian Schools against Fijian Schools (W 39-17) and New Zealand Schools (L 11-34).
2019 Represented Australia U20s / the Junior Wallabies at the 12th annual World Rugby U20s Championship in Argentina.
2020 Wilson won his first Test cap at blindside flanker, Pete Samu started at No.8, in the 16-16, first Test draw with New Zealand. He moved to the back of the scrum the remaining five internationals of the COVID-reduced season.
2021 He was in the starting No.8 for the first two Tests of the home series against France before Isi Naisarani came into the side for the decider. Wilson returned to the run-on side for the first Bledisloe against New Zealand, and picked up one further cap, off the bench, in Auckland.
2022 Wilson started at blind side flank in the 17-21, third Test loss to England in Sydney. He also played at No.8 in the second Test, 14-40 defeat to New Zealand at Eden Park.