Reece Hodge is looking to learn some secrets of the Flying Fijians after linking with their former strength and conditioning guru John Pryor, who has come on board with the Wallabies.
Feedback post 2019 World Cup to the Melbourne Rebels outside back, who has played 37 Tests, was that he needed to improve his speed and agility.
So Hodge has been using Super Rugby’s coronavirus shutdown to work on his technique with Pryor while at home in Sydney.
“A lot of my feedback from both the Rebels coaches and the new Wallabies coaching staff was that one of my work-ons was speed, power and agility,” Hodge told AAP.
“I got a couple of track sessions in; a few sessions with spikes.
“I was working with Johnny Pryor, who is a specialist speed and agility coach who was with Fiji at the World Cup and has been with (current England coach) Eddie Jones quite a bit in the past.”
Pryor has a long history in rugby, previously working with the Wallabies from 2004-07 as well as the Brumbies, Waratahs, Japan’s national side, Japanese club Suntory under Eddie Jones, and then Fiji at last year’s World Cup.
With the Fijians he trained three Olympic gold medallists from their sevens program as well as explosive former Parramatta Eels player Semi Radradra.
“He’s a pretty awesome operator and I got a fair bit out of the sessions with him so it was a highlight for me to have a chance for a lot of one-on-one sessions which you don’t usually get,” Hodge said.
“It’s yet to be seen whether my times have actually improved but I definitely feel like I’ve got the foundations now to build on that over this next six-week block.”
The Rebels and other Super Rugby sides are hopeful of being able to train in groups above 10 from Monday and then take up contact work as they move closer to a July 3 competition re-boot.
Rugby Australia are yet to release a draw for the new-look domestic competition that will replace Super Rugby with international borders remaining closed.
“Once we get that it will be something to work toward but we’re all just grateful to be back at training,” Hodge said.
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