'I thought our relationship was fine': Izack Rodda opens up on Brad Thorn rift
Rodda on Tuesday extended his contract with the Force and Rugby Australia until 2024 in a boost as the code attempts to retain its top talent.
The 25-year-old burst onto the scene in 2017 with the Queensland Reds to establish himself as one of the first-picked Wallabies.
But his sudden exit from Ballymore in 2020, after it was announced that Super Rugby players would have to accept a significant pay cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stung the Reds.
Thorn was riled by Rodda’s decision to terminate his contract in order to join Lyon, and he expressed his displeasure again when reports emerged that the star lock was seeking a return to Australian rugby.
“You’ve got a global pandemic, everyone has suffered, players took pay cuts, guys were on JobKeeper,” Thorn said last year shortly before Rodda signed with the Force.
“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.”
Rodda viewed his experience in France as an important growth period, and he has no regrets about the move.
The star Wallaby will be the centre of attention on Friday night when the Force host Thorn’s Reds at HBF Park in Perth.
“I honestly thought our relationship was fine, but he said what he said in the media, and that’s totally up to him and his opinion,” Rodda said about Thorn’s comments last year.
“I respect him highly as a player and as a coach, and I don’t have anything bad to say about him as a player or a coach.
“I haven’t spoken to him, but I’m a nice guy and he is as well, and I guess if we crossed paths on the weekend we’d have a chat.
“I don’t think there’s any bad blood there, or I’d like to think there’s no bad blood there. I wouldn’t mind speaking to Thorny, he’s a great guy.”
Rodda has thrived since his move to Perth, excelling for the Wallabies last year and emerging as one of the key men behind the Force’s bright start to the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last six months or so, firstly with the Wallabies last year and now with the Force in Super Rugby Pacific,” Rodda said.
“It feels to me like both teams are building something special and that’s something I’m looking forward to being a part of.”
Rugby Australia boss Andy Marinos said the retention of a key player in a “specialist position” that commands big money overseas was a major coup.
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