Wallabies have decided on their new fullback to replace Tom Banks
Reece Hodge will break a run of five-straight Test appearances off the bench when he wears the No.15 for the Wallabies against Argentina on Saturday.
Hodge’s versatility has ironically counted against him in a 50-Test career that has often seen him used as cover across the backline and midfield rather than a specialist.
The Melbourne Rebel did just that when fullback Tom Banks broke his arm in Saturday’s Rugby Championship victory over the Springboks and has won the battle to start there this weekend.
His only other Test start at fullback came almost a year ago – the last time Hodge was named in the 15 – in a 16-16 draw with Los Pumas.
Former Wallabies fullback Chris Latham had called for coach Dave Rennie to reintroduce fit-again playmaker James O’Connor at fullback to create a triple-threat alongside No.10 Quade Cooper and centre Samu Kerevi.
Rennie has instead rewarded Hodge’s patience, although that Cooper-O’Connor reunion – the pair debuted together against Italy in 2008 – could still occur if O’Connor takes Hodge’s spot on the bench.
The Wallabies have shot from seventh to third in the world rankings thanks to back-to-back wins over the Springboks, while a win in Townsville would be their first three-game streak since 2017.
They will play Argentina again on the Gold Coast next week before departing for a Spring Tour that includes Tests against Japan, Scotland, England and Wales.
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