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‘Can do more’: Western Force coach believes Izack Rodda can ‘become great’

By AAP
Mesake Doge of Fijian Drua gets tackled by Marley Pearce and Izack Rodda of the Force during the round 12 Super Rugby Pacific match between Western Force and Fijian Drua at HBF Park, on May 11, 2024, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Western Force coach Simon Cron has praised the contribution of Izack Rodda, but believes the Wallabies lock can become even more physically dominant.

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Rodda starred in Saturday night’s 48-10 win over Fijian Drua, with his physicality and on-field leadership crucial in the six-tries-to-one romp.

The 27-year-old has barely played over the past two years due to several serious foot injuries and an untimely pre-season quad tear.

But his return last month has been a vital boost to the Force’s hopes of gatecrashing the finals.

The win over Fijian Drua lifted them from last spot into ninth, just two points adrift of the top eight.

The Force round out their season with games against the last-placed Waratahs (home), the sixth-placed Queensland Reds (away) and the third-placed Brumbies (home).

“Izack every week is getting better, and we’ll keep pushing him. He can do more,” Cron said.

“He’s enjoying being back, and we think he can become even more physically dominant than he is now.

“He’s driving himself too.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
1
6
Tries
1
6
Conversions
1
0
Drop Goals
0
93
Carries
125
10
Line Breaks
4
13
Turnovers Lost
24
7
Turnovers Won
8

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“There were some good things (against Fijian Drua), but we want to push him to become great.”

The Force had a number of star performers against Drua.

Five-eighth Ben Donaldson was a perfect eight-from-eight with the boot on the way to a 23-point haul, while fullback Kurtley Beale had a hand in several tries.

But it was inside centre Hamish Stewart who provided arguably the most important play of the match.

With Drua threatening to snatch the lead early in the second half, Stewart produced a successful counter-ruck that eventually ended in a momentum-swinging try to Michael Wells.

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“Hamish is a player you put in the trenches. He goes to war every week that kid,” Cron said.

“On ball, pressure, tackling – he covers two or three guys.

“I thought him and Bailey (Kuenzle) were really good in the midfield together.”

Fijian Drua’s loss was their biggest of the season and left them clinging to eighth spot.

Drua coach Mick Byrne, a former VFL player who featured for Melbourne, Hawthorn and Sydney, wants to see a major rebound in Saturday’s clash with the Reds in Fiji.

“We’ve got to have a good look at ourselves,” Byrne said.

“We’re still in the eight, so the year’s in front of us still.

“We’ve got to lick our wounds – there’s some serious wounds to lick – and we’ll find out how good we are.”

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