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'We're here now': Why Izack Rodda's return to Australia fills a want not a need

By AAP

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Western Force coach Tim Sampson says his side’s tight loss to the Queensland Reds proved their forward pack was “already there”, in an ominous warning before the arrival of Wallabies lock Izack Rodda.

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Former Queensland Reds star Rodda controversially left Ballymore over a contract dispute when COVID-19 halted last season’s competition.

But the 24-year-old will be back in Australia from July – and available for Wallabies selection – after a short-lived stint in France.

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The Force recently recruited former national lock Sitaleki Timani, who had left the NSW Waratahs for the Pro-14 in 2013.

Timani, 34, earned his first start in Saturday’s 26-19 loss to the Reds at Suncorp Stadium, helping turn the tide alongside former Reds prop Greg Holmes who was playing his 150th Super Rugby game.

Emerging back-rower Fergus Lee-Warner and No.8 Brynard Stander were also impressive for the Force against a Reds outfit stacked with Wallabies and boasting the power of Taniela Tupou.

Saturday’s tight defeat followed a gutting 10-8 loss to Melbourne, 20-16 win over of the Waratahs and 27-11 reverse to the Brumbies after the Force were hastily welcomed back into the Australian Super Rugby fold last year.

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“We’re here now,” Sampson said when asked if Rodda’s arrival would make them the equal of any other Australian Super Rugby forward pack.

“Izack will just be a good addition because look at tonight; our forwards were outstanding.

“They were really good at set piece, line out functioned well and got some pay out of our scrum so it’s just an addition and slot into what we’ve already got here.”

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Holmes was tremendous against his former team in a homecoming marked by the first meeting with his parents since he left Brisbane for Exeter in England five years ago.

“You can see he’s got plenty left in the tank … it was awesome to share that 150 milestone with him,” Stander said of 37-year-old Holmes, who could play on next season.

“It felt great and we gave it all for him.”

– Murray Wenzel

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'We're here now': Why Izack Rodda's return to Australia fills a want not a need

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