First Nations Wallabies: Matt Hodgson

To honour the Wallabies wearing the First Nations jersey against Argentina, Rugby.com.au has taken a look back at the incredible efforts by First Nations Wallabies - looking at the natural leader and barnstorming back-rower Matt Hodgson.

There has arguably been no more loyal a servant to rugby in Australia than Matt Hodgson both on and off the field.

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Raised on the New South Wales central coast Hodgson played in the back-line for the Avoca Beach Sharks until age 16.

He was drafted by the Waratahs before he turned 18 only to be redeveloped as a flanker. That decision was a masterstroke as Hodgson quickly became one of the most formidable loose forwards in the game.

In 2002 he was to chosen as a flanker for the inaugural IRB U21s Junior World Championship tournament in South Africa before he won a place in the national 7s side for the IRB World Series in 2004.

Hodgson then joined the Western Force for their 2006 foundation season of Super Rugby and despite five stellar seasons for the fledgling franchise it was not until 2010 that he was rewarded with a Test debut, against Fiji in Canberra.

He would come off the bench, replacing David Pocock at openside flanker as they went on to the 49-3 victory over Fiji at Canberra Stadium.

The backrow would earn his first start a year later in the shock loss against Samoa, before earning a late call-up to Australia’s Rugby World Cup squad after No.8 Wycliff Palu strained a hamstring in the pool game against the U.S.A.

In 2014 his leadership qualities were truly recognised when he became just the second indigenous Australian, after Mark Ella, to captain the Wallabies in the uncapped Spring Tour match against the Barbarians at Twickenham.

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In 2017, Hodgson ended a decorated 140 game Super Rugby career on a deserved high when, in the final play of the game, he kicked his lone career penalty goal as the Force thumped New South Wales 40-11.

Hodgson's love for the game and the Force has continued in his post-retirement, stepping up as GM of Rugby for the club.

His passion and drive was a key factor behind their survival, eventually earning their way back to Super Rugby with Hodgson one of the key factors to thank.

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