Can Quade Cooper's Wallabies re-call end Bledisloe Cup hoodoo?
Australia haven’t held the prized trophy since 2002 and face a tough task to win it back this year given two of the three tests will be held in NZ.
The series starts on Saturday night at Eden Park. The last time the Wallabies beat NZ there was in 1986, with the All Blacks winning the next 20.
The second match is also set to be in NZ, with the venue yet to be confirmed, before the series concludes in Perth on August 21 in a match that also doubles up as a Rugby Championship fixture.
Hodge was just seven years old when Australia last won the Bledisloe Cup and the now 26-year-old is determined to bring it back home.
“I’ve spoken in the past about how lucky I was being born in ’94 having grown up watching the golden era of Australian rugby,” Hodge said.
“Ultimately that’s what inspired me to want to pull on the gold jersey growing up.
“It’s not lost on us how unique of an opportunity it is for us to really inspire that next generation coming through now.
“Those kids watching back in Australia on Saturday night who want to see Australia win – hopefully we can be that team who can inspire that next generation of athletes coming through to want to be Wallabies and successful Wallabies.”
Border restrictions and James O’Connor’s ongoing groin injury resulted in Cooper earning a shock call-up to the Wallabies squad.
The 33-year-old last played for Australia in 2017 and he is only considered an outside chance to earn a spot in the match-day squad for the Bledisloe Cup series opener.
But his experience has proved invaluable at training.
Ian Foster is excited to see ex-NRL star Roger Tuivasa-Sheck’s rugby union career kick-off earlier than expected, but he remains tight-lipped about a possible All Blacks call-up. #AllBlacks https://t.co/KISutMk9kt
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“He’s had his detractors over the years, but one thing you can’t take away from Quade is he has an amazing rugby brain,” Hodge said.
“And seeing him spending time with Noah (Lolesio) especially, and guys like Hunter (Paisami) and Lennie (Ikitau) – and even myself I’m still learning off him.
“He’s not shy in terms of coming up to you during a session or afterwards and offering advice and the way he sees the game.
“Even in the space of a couple of weeks his experience has been invaluable in terms of helping this squad out and hopefully we see the fruits of that over the next few weeks and also into the future as well.”
Hodge made his return from a knee injury off the bench in the third Test against France and will be pushing for more game time against the All Blacks.
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