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Ultimate team-man Hodge palms off flyhalf talk

Wed, 10/08/2022, 5:41 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
The Wallabies travel to Mendoza to face Argentina

Wallabies utility Reece Hodge has tossed aside any talk of a potential full-time move to flyhalf, happy to continue his role as 'Mr Versitile' as they prepare for the second Test against Argentina on August 14.

The Rebels fullback slotted into flyhalf, the position he grew up playing, during the second half of the Wallabies' 41-26 win over Argentina following the injury to Quade.

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Hodge is the perfect person to have on a 6-2 forwards split on the bench, which Rennie opted for on the weekend.

In the 2021 Rugby Championship, he managed to cover four different positions (wing, flyhalf, centre, fullback) in four straight games off the bench.

“It’s been something I’ve become used to over the past couple of years, being a part of a number of 6-2 benches covering 10-15,” Hodge told reporters.

“For me, it’s about asking plenty of questions and watching plenty of vision.

“It’s hard to get reps in every position where you are on the bench but just as many as possible, whether that’s jogging through with certain people after the team session, just getting as much of that process as I can so when it gets to Friday-Saturday, I’m comfortable to slot into any position whoever goes down.

“Any position that I get to slot into I’m comfortable and really helps having guys around me that do their role so I can focus on mine.”

Whilst Hodge in the past has indicated his preference to eventually nail down a spot in the starting side, his England omission was a reality check.

“From my perspective, I have to look at the fact that eight weeks ago I missed out on the squad for England so every opportunity to be in a Test squad is a privilege,” he explained.

“I just really enjoyed being back, being able to sing the national anthem amongst 22 of my mates the last couple of games. I enjoyed getting extended minutes despite it being so gutted for Quadey (Cooper) to sustain that injury.

“It’s a question that I’ve been asked for the past 6-7 years where my position is and I’m genuinely willing to play wherever the team needs me. If we were to sit down now and say I could contribute to the match-day squad heading into the World Cup, it’s something I’d be happy with.

“I’m just happy to be in the squad and hopefully get picked again.”

Whilst Hodge is an outside chance for the vacant flyhalf position, he backed Noah Lolesio or James O'Connor to fill the role as they prepare to travel to San Juan.

“We’ve got two world-class tens in Noah (Lolesio), who led us to a series win against France last year and was solid in the England series, and James O’Connor has 50+ Tests for his country and his form for the Reds had him as one of the best players in the comp," he added.

“We have two really good options there heading into the game this weekend and it’s up to the guys around them to do their job and make theirs easier so hopefully we can put a polished performance together on Saturday.”

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