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Reece ready to adapt to what Wallabies want

Reece Hodge is ready to play anywhere for the Wallabies.
Reece Hodge is ready to play anywhere for the Wallabies. TONY MCDONOUGH

REECE Hodge says he's comfortable taking on the Mr Fixit tag for the Wallabies and would even be ready to step into the no.10 role if a playmaking injury crisis emerged.

Hodge is set to line up on wing for Australia when they tackle the Springboks in Perth, after performing strongly when called into the side in Perth due to an injury to Dane Haylett-Petty.

Hodge has started six of his 17 career Tests on the wing but he also played centre for a five-game stretch, and been a utility reserve on the bench for the remainder. 

The role of utility is one not usually coveted by footballers because it will often mean they're not given a chance to focus on their preferred position. 

Adam Ashley-Cooper is the most recent example, having played every position, from 11-15, in Test rugby.

It worked in AAC's favour, ultimately, given he played 116 Tests for the Wallabies.

But where Hodge may end up trumping AAC in utility value is that the Melbourne Rebel is also considered the Wallabies' third-choice no.10 behind Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale.

After Michael Cheika left Quade Cooper out of the Wallabies this year, Hodge has been spending time at training in the role and if there is an injury on tour to one of Foley or Beale, the 23-year-old will be back-up no.10.

"Obviously without Quade in the squad I have had to spend a bit more time there at training and I think it's been good I guess to get my head around a few different positions, and I think the transfer of skills between 10, 12, 13 and wing is quite good," Hodge said.

"It can only be beneficial going forward.

"I am used covering everything now so I am prepared to play anywhere from 10 to 15, if there is a worse case scenario.

"It's our job during the week to prepare as best as we can so if we're thrust into that position on the weekend then we're ready."

Hodge is diplomatic about being considered a utility - and that's also a skill practiced by most utilities.

"I am not too fussed where I play. I just love being out for the start of the game rather than coming off the bench," 

"But in saying that, if that's what the coaches think is best for the team then that's the position I will play.

"Obviously the more posiitons you play the more chances you have of being in the team, I guess. It's just about performing week to week, wherever I am."

Topics:  rugby championship springboks wallabies

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