Rodda reveals how his game has changed since he left Reds

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Rodda reveals how his game has changed since he left Reds

Izack Rodda is returning to the Wallabies for the first time since his controversial departure from the Reds over his refusal to accept a pay cut during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Rodda left the Reds and began a lucrative stint in France with Lyon, but was rumored to accept a major pay cut to return to Western Force for next season’s Super Rugby Pacific campaign.

Rodda was put up for Wallabies media service on Tuesday alongside former Reds team-mate Quade Cooper, who was also on the wrong side of Reds coach Brad Thorn during his time in Queensland.

“I played with him years ago and he is a phenomenal talent, a great player and an even better man off the field,” Cooper said of Rodda on Tuesday.

(William West/AFP/Getty Images)

“I have enjoyed the opportunity to catch up, spend some time with him and I know he will be a great asset to Australian rugby.”

Rodda has played 25 Tests for Australia and said he was not expecting a Wallabies call up this season. But he believes he has improved his game in his short time in France.

“Since being in France, I’ve learned a lot more about physicality in the game and probably more about the aggressive side of the game,” said Rodda.

“That’s what I can bring back now – definitely more physicality around the breakdown and carrying the ball, which I thought was one of my weaker points before I left for France.”

He said he was “pumped to be back” after feeling left out last season.

“I enjoyed it a lot. There is a lot of second-row competition in the squad this year, which is good.

“I didn’t expect it to go so fast. I really thought I’d just be in Perth for the next six months. But that’s why I’m back, because my dream is to play for the Wallabies and I try to do that every chance I get.

“If I’m elected, I’m excited. It will be surreal to play in Perth.”

Rodda said he was encouraged by what he had seen at Western Force, whose coach Tim Sampson made him a priority purchase, much to Thorn’s chagrin.

“I think they are doing really well and they have a good solid roster – a lot of young guys came in and some older ones too – a good mix there,” said Rodda.

“After seeing the performance this year, they are definitely building up and I think with another solid pre-season under their belts the guys will be a lot better.”

Rodda’s path to playtime opened up as Lukhan Salakaia-Loto left camp ahead of the impending birth of his child. Darcy Swain, who impressed against France, had a shaky second Bledisloe game and his place could be threatened.

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