History awaits ex-All Black Alex Hodgman as Wallaby call-up looms

Fri, May 31, 2024, 12:15 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

Four-cap All Black prop Alex Hodgman has been backed to thrive in the test arena once more should Wallabies coach Joe Schmidt come calling.

After amassing more than 60 Super Rugby caps for the Blues and Crusaders over a decade in New Zealand rugby, Hodgman was seriously considering retirement following a shoulder injury that derailed his 2023 campaign.

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Now, a tree-change to Brisbane for the 2024 season has seen the man they call "Guppy" emerge as one of Queensland's top props alongside the likes of fellow Kiwi Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Wallaby Zane Nonggorr and Fijian international Peni Ravai.

Hodgman's powerful scrummaging and work-rate is well known to Schmidt from their time at the Blues together in 2022 and Wallaby halfback Tate McDermott won't be surprised if a gold jersey awaits his Reds teammate.

"We're really pleased with how 'Guppy' has been for us this year. Just the time he puts into his own game and how he helps the other props, it's a testament to him and his character," McDermott told rugby.com.au.

"I'm sure if 'Guppy' keeps playing the way he is, he'll get that (Wallabies) call. The way he handles it, he's 100 per cent deserving of it."

Should Hodgman be elevated to a Wallaby squad and don gold in the test arena, he'll become just the fourth man in history to do so following Ted Jessup (NZ 1931, AUS 1934), Des Connor (AUS 1957-59, NZ 1961-64) and Owen Stephen (NZ 1968, AUS 1973-74).

For now, at least, all Queensland eyes are fixed on tonight's clash with the Waratahs in Sydney with Hodgman set to lock horns with returning NSW veteran Paddy Ryan.

The Reds are already locked into fifth place and a quarter final date with the Chiefs in Hamilton next Friday but McDermott says there'll be no lack of motivation against the old enemy.

"It's a massive occasion playing NSW, especially in Sydney," McDermott said.

"We hold the Bob Templeton Cup at the moment and we'd like to keep it."

Click here for all the latest Super Rugby Pacific Round 15 news from rugby.com.au.

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