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Wallabies star Izack Rodda puts foot faults behind him

By AAP
(Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Wallabies lock Izack Rodda is optimistic his foot injury woes are finally behind him, revealing a high arch that has now been flattened was the cause of his issues.

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Rodda has been sidelined for most of the past 18 months after suffering a series of stress fractures in his right foot.

The 27-year-old missed the 2022 international season as well as last year’s World Cup, and he was also sidelined for almost the entire Super Rugby Pacific season in 2023.

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New Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt media briefing

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New Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt media briefing

Izack Rodda (top) was a Wallabies regular earlier in his career. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)
But successful osteotomy surgery has Rodda feeling confident that he has finally found a permanent fix, with the powerful second rower on track for a Western Force return as early as round two or three.

“My last round of surgery was about four or five months ago … where they flatten out the arch of my foot,” Rodda told AAP.

“I had a high arch, which was resulting in a few stress fractures.

“So they corrected that and shaped it, which has allowed my foot to be more normal.

“That has helped me with running pain-free and offloading those bones that were under a lot of stress.

“I think it’s done the job.”

Unlike the previous rounds of surgery, Rodda noticed a positive flow-on effect to the areas surrounding his foot.

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“It feels more free, I’ve got more ankle range, which is something that was very limited in the previous years,” Rodda said.

“Now my foot feels more like a foot, if that makes sense.

Rodda <a href=
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“My left one was alright. My right one was just a bit wonky. Now they’re both the same. They’re actually matching now.”

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The Force narrowly missed the finals last year.

The additions of Wallabies scrumhalf Nic White and flyhalf Ben Donaldson are a big boost, and Rodda feels the Force have all the ingredients to make a major splash this year.

The arrival of Wallabies backs Nic White (l) and Ben Donaldson (r) has boosted the Force. (AP PHOTO)
“The squad depth has grown dramatically, which is great, it’s what we need. There’s a lot more competition,” said Rodda, who spent four seasons with the Queensland Reds before moving west in 2021.

“We’re striving to win the comp.

“Every team plans to win the final, but this is the first team I’ve been in where I believe it’s a possibility.”

The long stints on the sidelines gave Rodda a new perspective on rugby and on life.

He got married to his partner Kobe in December, and he’s now itching to get back onto the field.

“You get so caught up in the whole thing of rugby – prepping, training, playing. You get in the mode of rugby, rugby, rugby,” Rodda said.

“But since I got injured, it puts a lot of things into perspective.

“If anything, it grows your love for the game more, because you’re not involved and it shows you why you enjoy it.

“I’m back training now. Besides the lungs blowing out, the foot’s holding up well, which is great. It’s given me a lot of confidence.”

The Force’s season kicks off against the Hurricanes in Perth on Friday night.

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Poorfour 4 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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