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The Roar


Wallabies star set to make timely return against Crusaders in must-win clash for Force

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17th April, 2024
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Izack Rodda’s stop-start career at the Western Force is about to get the green light once again, with the experienced Wallaby set to make his return to Super Rugby.

The Roar understands the 27-year-old will come off the bench against the Crusaders on Saturday evening. Confirmation is expected on Wednesday afternoon, with Kurtley Beale a strong chance to make his return to Super Rugby via the bench too.

It will be the 2019 World Cup squad member’s first minutes of the year, having been a late withdrawal from their round one side with a quad injury.

Although it was hoped he would miss only around a month, Rodda ultimately missed the Force’s opening seven matches of the year.

Injured Wallaby Izack Rodda is likely to be looked closely at by new national coach Joe Schmidt. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The injury continued a frustrating 18 months for the Wallabies lock, who has been troubled by consecutive foot injuries which cruelled his hopes of featuring in a second straight World Cup campaign. It led to him managing just 76 minutes on the field in 2023.


His absence has been felt at the Force, with Simon Cron forced to turn to all corners of the globe to shore up his second-row stocks.

Indeed, only last month Cron pounced on the services of Sam Carter from Leicester, while he previously lured over for New Zealand veteran Tom Franklin.

It’s not just experience Cron will be adding by being able to finally call on the services of Rodda but one of the best locks in Australia.

Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt will be tracking Rodda’s progress closely, with the second-row an area that Australian rugby is light on.

After all, last year Eddie Jones’ preferred starting second-row was Will Skelton and Richie Arnold.

But given both giants ply their trade in France, and Schmidt’s stated desire to look within rather than call up players from overseas, it’s likely the Wallabies will have a new look to their pack this year.


After managing just 76 minutes of action in 2023, Izack Rodda will run out for his first action of 2024 against the Crusaders. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Rodda very much fits the bill of a Schmidt lock, with the 202cm second-rower a ruck hitter and set-piece specialist.

He also has the necessary years of experience under his belt to be able to withstand the blows at the contact zone and not be pushed back.

Sitting last on five points after just one win from seven matches, the Force must beat the 11th-placed Crusaders to keep their knockout hopes alive.

“They’re a very strong side,” defence coach Will Eggleston told reporters on Tuesday. “People look at where they’re at on the competition ladder at the moment, but make no bones about it, we’re going to have to be at our best on Saturday.

“They’re not a team that’s coming in here that’s suddenly dropped off a cliff. There’s All Blacks littered through their side.

“If they’re not All Blacks, they’ve got a lot of Super Rugby caps within that group. We know it’s a great test and we can’t wait.”