The kick that almost made history for the Wallabies has kept Reece Hodge awake for much of the night following Australia’s Bledisloe Cup draw with the All Blacks in Wellington.
In extra time Hodge lined up a 55m penalty in the swirling wind and rain and while he had the distance, his freakish effort was slightly off target hitting the upright.
Had it gone through it would have snapped Australia’s 19-year winning drought in New Zealand but instead they had to settle for a 16-16 draw.
“Last night wasn’t a great start – it was a bit of broken sleep and I probably replayed it hundreds of times by now,” Hodge said on Monday morning.
“You can’t trust the wind too much in Wellington so I aimed it just inside the left post and it turns out that just outside the left post would have been better but I struck it as well as I could have.”
“I was just praying when it was in the air.”
Hodge only came off the bench in the 74th minute with Australia holding a three-point lead, levelled four minutes later with a Jordie Barrett penalty kick.
The game was a mad scramble with nine minutes of extra time but neither side was able to break the deadlock.
Hodge said he never hesitated to put his hand up to take the kick, with the distance beyond regular goal-kicker James O’Connor.
“I was pretty confident with the distance, although the wind was a different story,” the Melbourne Rebels back said.
“Any time you get a chance and you feel confident, why not step up and have a crack.”
The 26-year-old said his Wallabies teammates had been supportive of him after the match, aware of his disappointment.
“It was probably lucky in my case that it was a draw and not to go from a loss to a win,” he said.
The Wallabies will head to Auckland later on Monday to start preparations for the second Bledisloe Cup match in the four-Test series.
– Melissa Woods
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