Hodge's wise words for Maddocks

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

As a fellow Mr Fixit, Reece Hodge has some wise words for Rebels young gun Jack Maddocks.

Maddocks' breakout 2017 preceded a stellar start to 2018, in which he has filled the shoes of a winger with such aplomb that he is arguably the form winger in Australia, despite having never played the position.

More suited to flyhalf, fullback or perhaps even in the centres, Maddocks has plenty in common with Hodge, who was in a similar situation through the early part of his career in Melbourne and with the Wallabies last year.

Hodge initially made his mark off the bench for the Wallabies last June but played so well coach Michael Cheika couldn't leave him out of the starting XV, putting him on the wing.Maddocks has shot to stardom in the past 12 months. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyHe was one of the first picked for the remainder of last year and speaking from the Irish Times Pub in Melbourne, where he was promoting the Wallabies' June Test series against Ireland, Hodge said Maddocks looked a "natural" no matter where he played.

"He just looks so natural, I think he could probably play wherever he wants," Hodge said.

"When you're as young as he is and playing different positions, you just have to focus on the little details.

"Working on the game management side of things, where you need to be positionally, stuff like that.

"If he keeps playing like this, he might take my spot on the Wallabies wing as well."

Hodge is thriving at inside centre and so are the Rebels, with Will Genia arguably in career best form.Hodge's rise to the Wallabies starting XV is very similar to Maddocks' rise at the Rebels. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe speed of their attack has been critical to their success and Hodge put that down to the strength of Melbourne's forward pack and the work of the Wallabies halfback.

"It's the combination of the two factors, I think," Hodge said.

"Dave (Wessels) doesn't want our halfbacks sitting on the ball at the breakdown and Will doesn't like doing it, either.

"I think we have been getting over the gain line, percentage wise, more than any other team so far this year and that makes it a lot easier to get quick, clean ball to the backs.

"When the forwards are running the ball like that it makes life pretty easy for us out wide."Hodge and the Wallabies will welcome Ireland in June. Photo: Getty ImagesWhile on the topic of exciting rugby, Hodge is expecting plenty of that when Ireland come to town in June.

"They're obviously playing pretty exceptional rugby to have the Six Nations wrapped up with a week to go," he said.

"Their backs have been really sharp.

"They've been scoring some pretty exciting tries and I'm sure they'll be playing a similar style of attacking rugby out here."

The Rebels face the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Sunday, kicking off at 4:05pm AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio.

The Wallabies face Ireland in June for a three Test series. Buy tickets here.