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Wallabies call-up Australia A star following gruesome Tom Banks injury

By Alex McLeod
(Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

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The Wallabies have called experienced utility back Reece Hodge into their squad as injury cover for Tom Banks ahead of this week’s second test against England in Brisbane.

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Banks was taken from the field during the first half of Australia’s series-opening win over the English in Perth last weekend after he gruesomely broke his left arm while contesting for a high ball.

In a social media statement released on Tuesday, the Wallabies confirmed that Banks has undergone successful surgery on his arm.

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Banks has since been replaced by Hodge, who has been called into the national set-up after playing for Australia A in their Pacific Nations Cup defeat to Samoa on Saturday.

Hodge, a 54-test international who can cover virtually all positions across the backline bar halfback, started at fullback as Australia A fell short in a thrilling 31-26 loss at ANZ National Stadium in Suva.

The 27-year-old’s Wallabies recall comes after he was among the biggest names to have missed selection from head coach Dave Rennie for the England series.

However, Hodge will now come into the reckoning as a selection candidate, where he will compete with Jordan Petaia, James O’Connor and Andrew Kellaway for the vacant fullback role.

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While the others are likely to be preferred by Rennie due to being initial squad members, Hodge offers experience, positional versatility and kicking qualities that may be of use in Australia’s match day squad.

Hodge isn’t the only player to have been called into the Wallabies squad as injury cover for the England series, with utility forward Ned Hanigan and prop Sam Talakai joining the national camp last week.

No recovery timeframe has been provided for Banks’ latest injury, which comes after he broke his other arm while playing for the Wallabies against Los Pumas during last year’s Rugby Championship.

That injury ruled Banks out for Australia’s end-of-year tour of Japan and the United Kingdom, but the League One-bound 28-year-old returned in fine fashion as one of the standout fullbacks in Super Rugby Pacific this season.

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Reds youngster Lawson Creighton, meanwhile, has been added to the Australia A squad as Hodge’s replacement ahead of this week’s clash against Fiji in Lautoka.

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