Gleeson to cap off breakout season with Wallabies start against Wales

Backrower Langi Gleeson's breakout season is set to continue after Wallabies officials confirmed he will start at number eight in Sunday's Test against Wales.Gleeson's inclusion comes after Rob Valetini was ruled out of the final game of the year, sent back to Australia with an ankle injury.It caps off a remarkable rise for the Manly product, who started the year with ambitions of simply making his Waratahs debut.He would come off the bench with sporadic appearances, no more than 20-minute cameos, before he was handed a start against the Highlanders in round 14 after Darren Coleman opted to rest Jed Holloway and Charlie Gamble a fortnight before the Super Rugby Pacific finals.This kick-started an eight-game stretch for the 21-year-old that has rocketed him up the backrower depth charts and into an eventual Wallabies debut.Gleeson became the find of the Australia A program in 2022, starring in their wins over Fiji and Tonga during the Pacific Nations Cup after being an unused sub against Samoa.Further strong performances during their tour of Japan in October saw Gleeson favoured over the likes of Harry Wilson for the Spring Tour, raced into the side when Pete Samu went down with a back injury before the Scotland Test.“On Saturday at 10 am I got the call from (Dave) Rennie that he’d pulled out and I was in so I was pretty excited with that,” Gleeson said after the match.“I was pretty stoked, told my roommate Nick Frost first who was ecstatic with that. I then called the brother and Mum and Dad, I’m pretty sure it was late at night. They were really happy to hear about that and watch the game at 3:30 am in the morning.“I didn’t expect to be a Wallaby within 10 years. I was just trying to make my Waratahs debut this year. It's pretty special it's all happened, it's such a blur."Gleeson has parlayed that into a maiden start, set to form a fresh back row combination with Michael Hooper (concussion) ruled out, likely replaced by Fraser McReight.Hooper is one of nine unavailable from the Irish defeat, leaving Dave Rennie with just 25 fit players currently in the squad ahead of Sunday's Test.There will be a new-look halves combination when the squad is announced late Thursday evening, with Nic White and Bernard Foley ruled out, compounded by the loss of Hunter Paisami and Andrew Kellaway.Click Here: saracens rugby jersey