Alex Hodgman Set to Make Rugby History with Wallabies Debut

Alex Hodgman is set to become the first player in the professional era to represent both New Zealand and Australia in rugby. Named in the Wallabies squad for upcoming tests, Hodgman follows notable history-makers before him. Coach Schmidt aims to turn the Wallabies' fortunes around after a disastrous World Cup campaign.

Reuters | Updated: 21-06-2024 10:26 IST | Created: 21-06-2024 10:26 IST
Alex Hodgman Set to Make Rugby History with Wallabies Debut

Alex Hodgman is set to become the first player in the professional era to represent both New Zealand and Australia after being named in the Wallabies squad for July tests against Wales and Georgia on Friday. The loosehead prop played four tests for the All Blacks in 2020 and qualifies for the Wallabies through his Fijian-Australian father after moving to the Queensland Reds this year.

The 30-year-old was one of 21 forwards included in Joe Schmidt's first Wallabies squad since the New Zealander took over as coach in the wake of the departure of Eddie Jones. Hodgman would become the fourth player to play tests for the All Blacks and the Wallabies after Ted Jessep in the 1930s, Des Connor in the 1950s and Owen Stephens the 1960s and early 1970s. "I think he'd be pretty excited to be in the squad with a chance of (making) a little bit of history," Schmidt told reporters in Sydney.

"But he knows me reasonably well and he'll be understanding that it's going to be a pretty pragmatic decision and there's things to be earned." Schmidt has been charged with turning around the Wallabies in time for next year's British and Irish Lions tour after they won only two of nine tests and crashed out of the pool stage of the World Cup for the first time under Jones last year.

Thirteen uncapped players were included in the bumper 38-man squad, which will gather for a four-day camp in Brisbane on Sunday. They included flyhalf Tom Lynagh, son of Wallabies great Michael, and hooker Josh Nasser, whose flanker father Brendan played eight tests for Australia in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

At the other end of the spectrum, utility back Kurtley Beale has been given a chance to add to his 95 test caps after reviving his career at the Western Force this season in the wake of his acquittal on sexual assault charges. "He's in the squad and if you're in the squad you're a chance that put the boots on and be in the 23 at some stage," Schmidt said when asked whether the 35-year-old was in the squad as a mentor.

"Kurtley's played well and feedback from the Force has been really positive about his influence." Schmidt included no overseas-based players or players who are set to move abroad and left out winger Mark Nawaqanitawase and flyhalf Carter Gordon, who are off to rugby league for next season.

"That's not the exclusion of people," said Schmidt. "It's the inclusion of those guys who in the immediate future are invested in Australian rugby, and we're very keen to invest and them. "The door has not been slammed on anyone."

Australia play Wales in Sydney on July 6 and in Melbourne a week later before a one-off test against the Georgians back in the harbour city on July 20. Schmidt conceded that there may be some scarring for the players who were involved in last year's calamitous World Cup campaign, which was effectively ended by a heavy loss to Wales in Lyon.

"I think there's definitely a little bit of uncertainty and lack of confidence that we'll have to build through," he said. "The last time we played Wales, it was 40 points to six, which is a pretty devastating scoreline for a Wallabies side."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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