Thorn backs young lock Rodda for Wallabies call-up
RUGBY UNION: Wallabies hopeful Izack Rodda has the backing of one of rugby's great locks as he starts to think about playing a Test on his home ground.
The Queensland Reds powerhouse is one of many locks jostling for a spot in Michael Cheika's side for the first Test against Ireland at Suncorp Stadium on June 9.
Rory Arnold's suspension and Ned Hanigan's knee injury have at least partially cleared the path, but Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, and Sam Carter all remain in the frame.
The 21-year-old Rodda has shown he's worthy of another Wallabies call regardless, according to Reds coach and former All Blacks lock Brad Thorn.
Rodda established himself in the Wallabies' second row in just four Tests last year before shoulder surgery caused him to miss a home Bledisloe Cup victory and the ensuing spring tour.
Fit again, he has averaged 77 minutes in playing all 12 games this year.
Last Saturday, he was again the senior partner, with fellow international Kane Douglas benched in favour of 19-year-old Harry Hockings.
In a side full of rookies, Rodda has emerged as a leader despite his tender age and Thorn believes that shouldn't be underestimated.
"He's one of our experienced forwards, but he's 21," Thorn said.
"He's doing an all right job, isn't he, to play pretty much 80 minutes each week."
Rodda is one of just five Reds to play every game this season as veterans have fallen around him for a variety of reasons.
With just this Saturday's clash with the NSW Waratahs to play before the international window opens, the Ipswich Grammar product can't deny a Test berth is on his mind.
In March, Rodda was wheeled out in full Wallabies kit at Suncorp Stadium, showing off his moves among a quartet of Irish dancers to promote the three-Test series.
"It has crossed my mind, but I'm mainly just trying to focus on my form for the Reds," Rodda said.
"I just want to be the best player I can for this team."
Hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and returning winner Izaia Perese were two others to impress in the Reds' frustrating 18-15 loss to the Highlanders on Saturday.
Cheika will announce his Wallabies squad in Brisbane on Wednesday night.