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Rebel Maddocks makes Wallabies case

Jack Maddocks #14 of Rebels runs with the ball during the Super Rugby round 3 match between Sunwolves and Rebels at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground on March 3, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Melbourne’s boy wonder Jack Maddocks has made a compelling case for a Wallabies debut against Ireland with a starring performance in his team’s Super Rugby win over the Sunwolves.

The 21-year-old winger was a stand-out at AAMI Park, scoring two tries to take his season tally to eight as the Rebels romped to a 40-13 result.

Maddocks also had two line-breaks, five tackle busts and 11 runs, posing a threat most times he had the ball in hand.

Wallabies assistant coach Stephen Larkham was in the stands, with the Test team for the three-match series against the Six Nations champions to be named next Wednesday,

Maddocks went on the Wallabies’ spring tour as a development player but Rebels captain and Test lock Adam Coleman said he was ready for the big stage.

“He’s a talent and I think he’s done everything he can do to put his best foot forward for selection,” Coleman said post match.

“I’m sure his time will come in that jersey.

“He’s a character on and off the field and he’s a great asset to our team.”

As well as his attacking prowess from the wing or at fullback, where he has started a number of games, the rangy former Sydneysider known as “Maddog” is a keen defender.

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In a key moment early in the second half he pulled off a try-saving tackle, racing across the field to bring down flying Sunwolves winger Hosea Saumaki.

Reece Hodge also gave Wallabies selectors something to think about in his first start for the Rebels at five-eighth.

Hodge wore the ten jersey in the Wallabies’ Test against Japan late last year but has been preferred as a centre for Melbourne.

With a lack of depth in the position behind regular Test five-eighth Bernard Foley, Hodge showed he could be a capable back-up, often taking on the Sunwolves line.

“I think he did a good job and controlled the game well,” said Rebels coach Dave Wesels.

“He brings a real physical presence to that position which I think is great.

“Sometimes he might not make the right decision as a ten but if he doesn’t he’s got the physical capacity to put the ball under his wing and go forward.”

The Rebels face the Blues in Auckland next Saturday in their last game before the June Test window.

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