Third layer to Reds-Tonga double-header as Wallabies hopeful eyes July 26 comeback

Tue, May 21, 2024, 2:00 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey
Harry Wilson slam dunks one as the Reds face off against the Hurricanes in Super Round

Queensland's historic double-header in Tonga has added a third layer of intrigue with Harry Wilson marking July 26 on his comeback calendar.

The Reds number eight seemed destined for a Wallabies recall under Joe Schmidt off the back of his Super Rugby Pacific form before breaking his arm against the Melbourne Rebels in Round 12.

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Wilson underwent surgery last week and is eyeing an eight-week recovery block with July's Tonga internationals his potential return to play.

"I'll definitely be fit in July to be considered for a great trip," Wilson said in a statement.

"It's exciting to have back-to-back matches in the Queensland jersey against two very different international sides.

"I was lucky enough to travel to Tonga last year with Australia A so I know how awesome the local crowd is. They only cheer for one team but that's pretty cool being on the other side of it. The ground was so packed people were watching from trees."

Queensland's tour also breaks a 28-year drought for touring women's sides with Reds halfback Nat Wright eager to tackle a new challenge in Nuku'alofa.

The Matildas really showed the product is there for women in sport an hopefully we can do a similar thing in the future," Wright told

Tongan and Penina Pasifika halfback, Ana Ngahe, said the women's fixture would be "a life-changing moment for Tongan local girls".

"There will be so much excitement from our players and fans. I have no doubt that there will be an even higher level of support for women's rugby in Tonga after this game. Something I am very grateful for," Ngahe said in a statement.

The Reds-Tonga fixtures also loom large for players like Easts Tigers prop Massimo De Lutiis, who has bided his time behind more experienced teammates throughout the Super Rugby Pacific season.

De Lutiis earned his Queensland cap in last year's tour win over Saitama Wild Knights and has been working his way back into contention through Hospital Cup following a 14-week injury layoff.

"We're all really excited, especially the young boys. They're all excited to develop their skills playing against an international team with different styles of rugby," De Lutis told

"I'm definitely putting my hat in the ring but it's obviously up to the coaches. I'd love to play and I'd be so excited to go to Tonga.

"I was a bit jealous of the boys going to Fiji so I'd love the opportunity to go."