Reece Hodge is happy to hand over half the reins for the second Argentina Test

    Credit: PA Images

Credit: PA Images

The Wallabies’ own Swiss Army Knife Reece Hodge is happy with his utility-back role and will be happy if Dave Rennie gives the fly-half berth to one of his teammates.

Hodge played a starring role from the bench in the win over Argentina, helping his side recover from 19-10 down as they claimed a 41-26 triumph.

With Quade Cooper starting and no natural fly-half cover among the replacements, the 27-year-old was unlikely to pivot, but Cooper’s injury forced head coach Rennie’s hand.

Although the Melbourne Rebel has experience in the key position, it is not something he has done regularly.

WC hopes

“I think at the moment I’m just happy to play that kind of utility position and week to week I’ll fit in where needed,” Hodge told reporters.

“Eight weeks ago I missed out on the squad for (the) England (series) and for me every opportunity to be in the Test squad is a privilege.

“I enjoyed getting more minutes at the weekend despite being so gutted that Quadey picked up that injury, but I’m genuinely willing to play where the team needs me.

“If we were to sit down now and say that I could contribute as part of the matchday squad heading into a World Cup, then that is something I would be happy with; I’m just thrilled to be back in the squad.”

The battle for the fly-half role for Australia’s second Rugby Championship clash against Argentina is likely to be between Noah Lolesio and James O’Connor.

Lolesio was put in charge during the England series and impressed, but it’s still a close call for Rennie to make.

O’Connor, like Hodge, is also capable of playing in multiple positions along the back line, but has settled down over the last couple of years.

“Quade is a very experienced player and he’s an expert at getting the best out of people around him, so we make no secret that it’s a massive loss for us,” Hodge said.

“But Noah steered us to a series win against France last year and was very solid in that England series as well.

“And then James has played more than 50 Tests and his form at the start of the Super Rugby season for the Reds was outstanding. He was probably one of the best players in the competition early on, so we have two very good options going into match this weekend.

Injury struggles

O’Connor has struggled with injuries at times, which could count against him in selection, but Hodge insists the talented Reds player has been doing well in training.

“Rabs (O’Connor) has got his body in really good shape and he’s been training well in the last month and really pushing for selection,” he added.

“Whether it’s him or Noah who gets the nod heading into the weekend, we’re sure both are in good physical shape and both are training very well, so whoever steers us around will have the full confidence of the squad.”

READ MORE: Loose Pass: Michael Hooper’s incredibly brave call and recognition of the outstanding form of Wallabies teammate Nic White

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