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'You don't dislike that person, but...' - Brad Thorn riled by Rodda return

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

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Brad Thorn has been riled by the prospect of Izack Rodda’s Australian rugby return less than a year after he left the Queensland Reds over a pay dispute.


The 25-Test Wallabies lock and teammates Harry Hockings and Isaac Lucas refused to agree to 60 per cent pay cuts accepted by every other Australian Super Rugby player while the competition was suspended due to COVID-19 last May.

As one of Rugby Australia’s highest-paid players, Rodda had the option to take a one-season sabbatical to recoup lost wages while still retain his national contract.

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Brad Thorn pre-match Interview – Reds v Brumbies
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Brad Thorn pre-match Interview – Reds v Brumbies

Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper did just that and is currently playing in Japan, but Rodda’s RA contract was torn up as he headed to France for a lucrative deal with Lyon.

But the 24-year-old Rodda could return to Super Rugby alongside Hooper, albeit without the Rugby Australia top-up deal and on less than half the potential million-a-season offer he could attract in Europe.

Depth at lock was one issue highlight ed by incoming Wallabies coach Dave Rennie last season and director of rugby Scott Johnson was frustrated to lose the talent over an issue he believed could have been reconciled.

After a season in France they will happily welcome him back into the fold, with the bargain price set and Rodda now effectively able to choose between reported suitors NSW Waratahs, Melbourne Rebels and frontrunners Western Force if he wishes to return.


But the sour taste of Rodda’s Reds departure still hasn’t left his former coach’s mouth, who insists reports of bad blood between the pair were off the mark.

“It was disappointing when it happened and disappointing to hear that (he may be back) as well, less than 12 months after the situation occurred,” Reds coach and former international lock Thorn said.

“Us at Queensland Rugby wouldn’t agree with it (his immediate return).

“You’ve got a global pandemic, everyone has suffered, players took pay cuts, guys were on JobKeeper.


< p>“You don’t dislike that person, but the whole game suffered here… it was hard yakka and a lot of people made sacrifices, so that doesn’t align with our values.”

“It’s having your cake and eating it, you know.

“It ‘s in Rugby Australia’s hands but I just think you’ve got Angus Blyth, young Seru (Uru), Lukhan (Salakaia-Loto), Cadeyrn Neville, Darcy Swain at the Brumbies and in Melbourne Trevor Hosea.

“There’s talent here; you can always bring it back but they’re here, staying here and working hard.”


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