Hodge revs up Rebels' Wallabies bolters

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Reece Hodge is hopeful of lining up alongside some Rebels teammates on June 9, with the first Wallabies squad of the year to be named on Wednesday night.

Hodge is a certainty to feature in coach Michael Cheika's squad but there are still several spots up for grabs and some of his teammates in Melbourne are leading contenders to fill those holes.

Anaru Rangi and Jack Maddocks are two of those contenders and Hodge said they had put their names in lights over the past month.

"I think especially in the last few weeks guys have been putting their hands up," Hodge said.

"Anaru Rangi - you can see how much he wants it - and then you can see how much some of the young guys want it.Jack Maddocks has been in superb form all season. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"Jack Maddocks, even Billy Meakes, you could just keep rattling off names.

"Of course they're my teammates so I want to push their cause but I think everyone is going to be watching the selection tonight on Kick and Chase keenly.

"It's an honour every time you are named in the national team and guys will be watching keenly tonight."

The Wallabies superboot squared off with Hawthorn's Conor Glass and St Kilda's Ray Connellan at Gosch's Paddock on Thursday, the latter a childhood friend of Ireland star Robbie Henshaw.

Henshaw could line up against Hodge in June and the star back identified several threats across Ireland's backline.

"They've got some really exciting guys in that backline," Hodge said.Jacob Stockdale was crowned player of the tournament in Ireland's triumphant Six Nations campaign. Photo: Getty Images"Obviously Stockdale won player of the Six Nations tournament and then you have guys like Sexton as well.

"They have threats right across the backline and a really strong forward pack.

"It's going to be a massive test - they're probably the form team in the world at the moment so I'm looking forward to it."

On the home front, the Rebels have a rare opportunity to leapfrog the Waratahs to go top of the Australian Conference on Saturday, when they travel to Auckland to face the Blues.

Melbourne have never won in Auckland but Hodge said the side will take confidence from their close shave at Eden Park 12 months ago.

"We've probably gone close a few times - last year we had a bit of a comeback and we were on the edge and we just let it slip in the last five minutes," he said.

"It's a massive game for us and we're really looking forward to it."

The Wallabies face Ireland at Suncorp Stadium on June 9, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio. Buy tickets here.