Rugby

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News

Wednesday’s Rugby News looks at Rodda’s return, O’Connor and Dane Haylett-Petty’s return and a new era for women’s rugby


He’s back

Izack Rodda scores off a chargedown of a kick from Jack Maddocks.

Izack Rodda scores off a chargedown of a kick from Jack Maddocks.

Former Queensland Reds lock Izack Rodda has confirmed his return to Australian rugby, signing with the Western Force.

Rodda, along with Isaac Lucas and Harry Hockings were released from their contracts with the Reds following a pay dispute last May.

The 24-year-old refused to accept a reduced salary amid the coronavirus pandemic, signing with Top 14 side Lyon on a short-time deal.

Expressing a desire to return home, Rodda will reportedly link up with the Force on a two-year deal according to Sydney Morning Herald reporter Tom Decent.

“It’s fantastic to be heading home and getting back to Super Rugby,” Rodda said in a statement.

“The Force is a very ambitious club that are looking to become the best in the competition, so this is an opportunity that I’m very excited to make the most of.”

Force head coach Tim Sampson was ecstatic with his signing, believing that it will be a major difference-maker for their forward pack.

“Izack has a great level of Super Rugby and international experience, which is important when playing in the tight five,” Sampson said.

“It’s fantastic for us and Australian rugby to have players like Izack return and he is genuinely excited to be a part of our club moving forward.”

Rodda played 46 times for the Queensland Reds between 2017 and 2020.

Before departing for France, he was a regular starter for the Wallabies in the second-row, earning 25 caps since his debut in 2017.

It continues the newly-included club’s roster overhaul, with former Wallaby Sitaleki Timani recently joining the club on a short-term deal, joining the likes of Tevita Kuridrani, Tom Robertson and Irish legend Rob Kearney.

Facing his past

James O'Connor kicks the match winner

James O’Connor kicks the match winner

Reds captain James O’Connor is ready to face his past as he prepares to take on the Force at Suncorp Stadium.

It was only 13 years ago that the 17-year-old made his debut for the club against the Reds at Suncorp, with a streak in his hair and a broken-down scooter to his name.

“I was 17, living in a house in Perth with best mates and we all had little (motorised) scooters to cruise around on,” O’Connor told Rugby.com.au

“So, I’m off to final training on the scooter with two big bags on my shoulders before the flight to Brisbane after the session.

“The scooter breaks down so I had to get a pushbike, still with the two big bags, to cycle several kilometres to training. I had teammates drive me having a good laugh.

“Playing for the Force seems like plenty of lifetimes ago, more than one or two.

“I have fond memories of playing over there just after I left school and I enjoyed the rugby.”

Both sides have gone through a lifetime of highs and lows, with the Reds coming off one of their most famous regular-season wins in history.

However, O’Connor is refusing to get cocky, well aware of the experienced heads that will plot against his downfall.

“They have a lot of senior guys who know how to win games but they also know the fundamentals really well so it’s hard to find space on them,” O’Connor said.

“The Kahuis, Kearneys, Tevita Kuridrani steering the ship…I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

DHP still MIA

Dane Haylett-Petty runs

Dane Haylett-Petty runs

Wallabies fullback Dane Haylett-Petty has conceded that he has no concrete return date as he continues his recovery from a concussion.

Haylett-Petty has been absent from rugby since a head knock sustained in last year’s Sydney Bledisloe Cup fixture on October 31.

Whilst he has told The Herald that he is on the mend, he admits that he will miss Friday’s homecoming and he no idea when he will be back, hopefully before the end of Super Rugby AU.

“I’ve definitely improved,” Haylett-Petty told the Herald this week.

“I started running last week, so still a few weeks off playing. I need to build training load up before I progress to contact.

“No date set yet but still hoping to play some Super Rugby AU.”

Coach Dave Wessels is remaining upbeat about Haylett-Petty’s situation, believing that he is starting to turn the corner.

“Dane had a bit of a turning point at the back end of last week,” Wessels said.

“He started to feel really good and then had a really positive consult with a senior neurologist, who has given some really positive feedback.

“He’s tried one or two different things that seem to be having a good effect.

“Dane is feeling quite positive. It’d be great to have him back in the mix. He’s doing a great job around the team, he is very involved in our game and does a lot of presenting in the meetings.”

Walla-win for ‘Roos

Grace Hamilton on the charge for Wallaroos

World Rugby has announced a landmark change to the Women’s International Calendar. launching ‘WXV’, a three-tiered annual competition model that will start in 2023.

The new WXV Global competition will see Australia play a minimum of six Tests every year, most notably against Canada, New Zealand and the USA in an annual cross-regional tournament.

World Rugby has also announced that the competition will be supported by a dedicated Women in Rugby commercial programme to help boost engagement and sustainable growth.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “This is a landmark moment for the sport. Today’s announcement of a new, global international 15s calendar will underpin the future success and accelerate the development of the women’s game.

“By establishing a unified international 15s calendar and introducing WXV we are creating a platform for the women’s international teams to compete in more consistent, competitive and sustainable competitions at regional and global level.

“At the same time, we are also growing the profile, fanbase and commercial revenue, generating opportunities for women’s rugby through the new Women in Rugby commercial programme.

“This is an ambitious, long-term commitment to make the global game more competitive, to grow the women’s game and support the expansion of Rugby World Cup to 16 teams from 2025 and beyond.”

Additionally, the announcement also commits to an extension of the competition following the 2025 Rugby World Cup from a 12 to 16-team format, ensuring the Women’s game continues to grow.

Rugby
@NathW1997

Loved rugby since the day I could remember, got the nickname Footy to show that, I watch Matt Dunning's dropkick every night before going to bed

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