Hodge happy to play Mr Fixit

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Reece Hodge is happy to be the Wallabies' Mr Fixit, a role many a star has filled before him.

Hodge's versatility has proven to be one of his greatest assets in his young Wallabies career, having filled a hole in the backline at almost every position in his 17 Tests to date.

The 23-year-old has made a wing spot his own in Dane Haylett-Petty's absence but he has also spent time at flyhalf at training, Michael Cheika backing his playmaking abilities should Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale both be struck down through injury or suspension at the same time.

"I am used covering everything now so I am prepared to play anywhere from 10 to 15, if there is a worse case scenario," Hodge said.

"It's our job during the week to prepare as best as we can so if we're thrust into that position on the weekend then we're ready.

"Obviously without Quade in the squad I have had to spend a bit more time there at training and I think it's been good I guess to get my head around a few different positions, and I think the transfer of skills between 10, 12, 13 and wing is quite good.

"It can only be beneficial going forward."

Hodge isn't fussed by what position he plays, as long as he gets a start.

An area that caused more concern for the Rebels star is the Wallabies' last start in South Africa, a frustrating 18-10 loss in Pretoria this time last year.

In Bloemfontein, Hodge believes patience will be key.Reece Hodge has fought tooth and nail for a consistent starting spot. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"We were definitely in the box seat for a lot of the game and probably just got a bit frustrated, needed to score every time we were down in their half sort of thing," Hodge said.

"Definitely patience is something that came out of that game last year and definitely taking our chances because we definitely created enough but they took theirs a lot better in that game."

A game at altitude also naturally produces questions about just how far Hodge may be able to kick the ball.

He was famously slotting them from 70 out at training last year but he is yet to test that aspect of his game.

"It was pretty strong wind so I won't comment on predicting range," Hodge said with a wry grin.

"We'll see how it goes during the game."

The Wallabies face the Springboks in the early hours of Sunday morning, kicking off at 12am AEST and 1am AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.