Reece Hodge has hailed the Wallabies pack and star-studded backline after stealing Israel Folau’s thunder with a career-first Test try-scoring double in Australia’s 37-20 Rugby Championship win over Argentina.
All the pre-match focus was on Folau and the superstar fullback’s bid to break the world record for most tries in a calendar year after he eclipsed Lote Tuqiri’s Australian-best tally of 10 with his 11th five-pointer against South Africa.
But it was Hodge who delivered a decisive double in Mendoza as the Wallabies secured second spot in the championship.
While Folau finished empty-handed, Hodge crossed in each half and would have collected a hat-trick if not for a forward pass in the lead-up to another fine attacking play on Sunday morning.
After being used in the centres for most of his 19 Tests since debuting last year, the classy utility is revelling on the wing for the Wallabies.
Deflecting the praise, the humble back says it’s a dream playing outside the likes of Folau, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley and Will Genia.
“It’s really exciting to play off the back of that. When they get the ball, anything can happen,” Hodge said.
“Bernie talks about it at every session and every backs review that we’ve got to be chasing through and chasing those line breaks and not assuming there’s going to be a ruck there.
“With those guys there, it’s a pretty realistic thing to have line breaks. It’s pretty good to play off.”
Hodge, though, reserved special gratitude for the Wallabies forwards, saying the backline couldn’t thrive without the necessary go-forward.
“It really came down to our ruck work. When we get that speed of ball, we really back our shape,” he said.
“We can go through anyone if we really nail down that attacking breakdown.
“When we start going forward, anyone can get involved no matter if you’re one to 15. It’s a bit of a cliche but when the forwards are going forward, it makes it really easy to play.
“So I’m really enjoying playing off the back of that.”