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Reds' Rodda rest set to have lock 'fizzing' in back end of season

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

Reds coach Brad Thorn is confident his Wallabies lock Izack Rodda will head into the second half of the season "fizzing" after a two-match rest sets him up to charge through the back end of the season.

Rodda was rested from last week's clash against the Crusaders before being absent again from the team list for Saturday night's crucial home match against the Bulls.

Thorn said there was no edict from above to rest Wallabies players and Rodda's absence was due to the massive volume of football he had played over the past two years combined with post-World Cup surgery at the end of last year.

"Izack's had a heck of a lot of footy in the last two years," Thorn said.

"He had a World Cup - I went through two of them and after a World Cup, it's an emotional let-down - and he came back from the World Cup with an injury and didn't really get a break at all.

"It's something we've talked to Izack about, it's a bit different in that situation with him. I think this second week will be good, get into the bye and then it's like a restart for him and he'll be fizzing into games after that."

Tate McDermott has also been named on the bench this week, with Scott Malolua to get another opportunity to start after wearing the no.9 jersey against the Crusaders.

"Tatey's competitive, it's a contest with those two," Thorn said.

"Tatey's been doing some really good things and (playing) good footy and he's continuing to grow his game.

"Scotty Malolua, you've got to remember he got picked for a World Cup and he got time in a Test for Samoa and he's a good footballer as well.

"There's good competition there and you've got Moses (Sorovi) as well - he's got an injury at the moment but they'll be good for each other and bring out the best in each other, I feel."

The Reds have never lost to the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium and are keen to continue that record on Saturday night, using their performance against the champion Crusaders last week as a springboard.

"There was a bit said about the kicking but it was also a heck of a game that was played and there were a lot of positives," Thorn said of the Reds' 24-20 loss in Christchurch, a game in which they missed four conversions.

"Going toe-to-toe with the Crusaders in their house, I think it's important to look at that side of the game. It was a great game of rugby. Kicking, we'll seek to improve but let's not forget the positives as well."

They know it won't be easy though against a Bulls side that notched their first win last week and have renewed confidence of their own.

"We just see them as a really good opponent," Thorn said.

"They've got big, strong forwards and they're really sharp - especially around the nine, 10 and 15 - and they're a dangerous football team.

"They'll have their tails up and we look forward to the challenge."

The Reds take on the Bulls at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, March 14, kicking off at 7:15pm AEDT (6:15pm local), with the match broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.