Rodda made his debut last year in Dunedin against the All Blacks, injuries mounted and he was thrust onto the bench by Michael Cheika.
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But in order to get him to that point Rodda has given an astonishing account of what it took to get that elite level. His mum drove him to training for both union and league Monday to Thursday, with games taking place on Friday and Saturday.
“Mum was also at uni full-time, studying to become a teacher. She would sit in the car studying while I trained. How she juggled everything I have no idea – mother of two, she worked, studied and ran me around to footy six days a week”, the 119kg lock says.
But the sacrifices didn’t end there.
“For the last two years of my high school I received a scholarship to attend Ipswich Grammar, a prestigious rugby school west of Brisbane. The scholarship certainly helped, but we would have still been out of pocket up to $40,000.
“Now, I am not from a rich family. It wasn’t as though we had that sort of money to spare. But Mum’s attitude was: “Stuff it! We’re doing it. It will be worth it one day.” That’s what she said to me and so off to Ipswich Grammar I went.”
It certainly paid dividends, Rodda played Australian Schoolboys in 2014 and Australian U20’s in 2016, before claiming senior honours with the Wallabies a year later.
But with finances tight, is family could not afford to get to his debut, but the ARU stepped in and jetted his mum out to Dunedin.
“You can imagine my surprise when I walked through the hotel lobby, about three hours out from the game, and there she was, sitting there, waiting for me. That meant so much to me.”
“A year later it still seems surreal. I am playing the game I love at international level and loving it. It took a lot of miles, but when you have a mum like mine behind the wheel … anything is possible”, the 21-year-old says.
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