Video: Why Wallaby picked Top 14 over Super Rugby
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallabies lock Izack Rodda has no regrets about his decision to walk out on the Queensland Reds last year to play in France.
Rodda has been included in the Wallabies squad for their Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship campaigns, which kick off in New Zealand on August 7.
The 24-year-old left the Reds last year after it was announced that Super Rugby players would have to accept a significant pay cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brad Thorn was riled by Rodda’s decision to terminate his Reds contract in order to join Lyon, and he expressed his displeasure again when reports emerged earlier this year that the star lock was looking to return to Australian rugby.
Rodda eventually signed with the Western Force and said his time in France had helped him grow as a person and as a player.
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“I just made a choice on what I thought was best for my future and family at the time,” Rodda said of his decision to leave the Reds.
“I have no regrets on that. I’ve learnt a lot on my year away, and definitely changed a lot as a person.
“I reckon I matured a lot. I’ve grown a lot in the last year mentally and physically as well.”
And as for a chat with Thorn?
“I haven’t spoken to Thorn since I’ve been back,” Rodda said.
🇦🇺 🎶 Loud and proud.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) July 27, 2021
The intense Wallabies training sessions have challenged Rodda, who will take a bit of time to regain peak fitness.
“I was used to the training in France. I wasn’t expecting to come back into this environment so soon, so I wasn’t as fit as I would have liked to have been,” he said.
“The boys have really hit the ground running. It’s been really fast and intense, and I’ve just been trying to do my best to keep up.
“In France it’s designed differently, because you’re trying to prepare for a 32-game season plus finals, so you want to build slowly.
“But in the Wallabies, every game is a must win, it’s a grand final.
“So you have to train like that here.”
One big bonus that Rodda found of playing rugby in France was the increased physicality.
“I think from a Super Rugby point of view we are more skilful and faster into positions,” he said.
“But the Top 14 was a lot more physical.
“They are big bodies that want to whack everyone more.
“I think that’s the part that really grew in my time in France – my physicality.”