Australia Portraits - Rugby World Cup 2019
Australia Portraits - Rugby World Cup 2019

Lock and load: Rodda set to secure new deal

Towering Izack Rodda is set to become the reliable bedrock of the Wallabies for the four years beyond the World Cup, with a long-term deal imminent to protect Australia's lock stocks.

When Rodda's signature is on the joint deal with Rugby Australia and Queensland, it will also secure the Reds' frontrunning candidate for long-term captain.

Even at 23, Rodda is the type to calmly compartmentalise playing, contracts and regular life but finalising his future would be a filip before Saturday's Cup opener against Fiji in Sapporo.

It is a deal of enormous significance considering top lock Adam Coleman (London Irish) and Rory Arnold (Toulouse) are joining overseas clubs when still in their 20s after the World Cup in Japan.

Rodda will be at the forefront for the 2020 Wallabies when they rebuild in the second-row around 98-Test evergreen Rob Simmons, Melbourne Rebels workhorse Matt Philip and eager youngbloods Harry Hockings, Angus Blyth, Australian under-20s standout Nick Frost and Ryan McCauley.

Rodda had a one-off role as Reds captain against the Chiefs in May when Samu Kerevi was rested for workload reasons and that responsibility seems certain to be full-time now the big centre is off to Japanese club Suntory next season.

Rodda's 2.02m frame has become a fixture in the Wallabies' pack for 21 Tests and his lineout steals are proof that the Wallabies are getting better equipped at standing up to the All Blacks, England and South Africa in this key battleground.

 

 

Rodda has played 41 times for Queensland and a four-year extension would push him towards the 100-game club.

Pursuing his services long-term continues the shrewd strategy switch by the Reds, who have already inked four-year deals with powerful World Cup prop Taniela Tupou, halfback spark Tate McDermott and young forwards Blyth, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson.

Boom World Cup project Jordan Petaia, 19, has three years to run on his four-year deal.

Rodda would seem a certainty for Saturday's Cup christening inside the Sapporo Dome because both Coleman (thumb) and Arnold (hand) have missed slabs of training with injuries until this week.

Rodda's first World Cup is a landmark for a kid who first dreamt big at Ipswich Grammar after leaving the surfing town of Evans Head on the far north coast of NSW.

 

Izack Rodda will be a vital cog in the Wallabies’ forward pack at the World Cup. Picture: Getty Images
Izack Rodda will be a vital cog in the Wallabies’ forward pack at the World Cup. Picture: Getty Images

 

"It didn't really hit home until I arrived in Japan and I'm getting more and more excited," Rodda said of the World Cup buzz.

Rodda said the sharpness to the Wallabies' lineout was real not imagined after the failures of last year.

"It's definitely improved and having the same group for the past few years means we are just gelling our combinations better," he said. "I definitely feel we can use it as a weapon if we keep going in that direction."

Rodda is a pure lock because of all the highlights to the 2015 World Cup his favourite was a key play by a fellow lock.

"The only memory I have of the last World Cup is Simmo (Rob Simmons) getting that intercept try (in the semi-final against Argentina) which was pretty cool, a pretty quick one (after 90 seconds)," Rodda said. "Simmo has retold it a few times ... it's right up there as his No.1 I think."

 

 

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News Corp Australia


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