Former Ipswich schoolboy to make Wallabies debut
HE has the aggression, the work ethic and the unflappable nature to succeed in the Bledisloe Cup cauldron.
That is the word from Ipswich Grammar School's director of sport Nigel Greive in the wake of news that former student Izack Rodda will make his Wallaby debut against the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday night.
With Adam Coleman ruled out due to injury, Rory Arnold and Rob Simmons will start in the second row with Rodda on the bench.
The Queensland Reds lock celebrated his 21st birthday last Sunday. His selection is the perfect present.
"The thing that will hold him in good stead is his big frame," Greive said.
"On top of that he is naturally very aggressive and has an amazing work ethic.
"What we all saw in the first half last week (of the Wallabies 54-34 loss) is that people need to be stepping up to that next level and be very aggressive.
"At the back end of that first half we fell apart in defence and that is where you need someone like Izack with a big engine to have an impact coming off the bench."
Coach Michael Cheika said Rodda had "impressed since he's been in camp".
"Sometimes when the opportunity comes you've have to take it with both hands so he's got to take in on Saturday," Cheika said in Dunedin.
Rodda hasn't had much time to think about his elevation.
"He didn't get much of a chance (to react)," Cheika said. "I just told him out on the (training) field 'go back in and kit up, you're playing'.
"Maybe that's a good way to go, I don't know. The look on his face was pretty excited."
Greive said Rodda, who hails from the northern NSW town of Evans Head, had the temperament to succeed at the highest level.
"Izack is unflappable," Greive said. "He's got that laconic beachside approach to him, combined with steely determination.
"Underestimate him at your peril. He is very level-headed and deliberate about everything he says and does.
"So he will take this in his stride. He has put a lot of work into making this goal come off.
"For such a young man to be called into the second-row is quite unique. It takes a long time to learn that trade and build up the strength so he is obviously doing a lot of extra work to achieve this goal so quickly."
Rodda will become the eighth Wallaby to have been produced by Ipswich Grammar School.
The school has produced seven Wallabies; from Eric Francis in 1914 through to Rodney Davies in 2011.
In between former IGS students Alan Ware, Barry Wright, Ken Donald, David Wilson and Berrick Barnes have gone on to play for Australia.
Rodda paid tribute in an earlier interview with the QT about the influence of former All Black and current Reds assistant coach Brad Thorn in his development.
Greive said he saw similarities between the pair.
"I met Brad Thorn when he came to the school to do some coaching clinics," he said.
" Brad and Izack have so many similarities. They are both understated. Their work ethic is amazing and they don't over-complicate things.
"I can see how the mentorship of Brad's would have helped Izack in his development.
"Brad was not always the fastest bloke on the paddock but he was always one of the hardest working and most courageous and that is a similar characteristic of Izack's."
Greive said the school was proud of Rodda's achievement.
"It is a very proud moment for any of our boys to achieve national representation in any sport," he said.
"But with us being a traditional rugby school and part of the GPS association this is the pinnacle.
"We are duly impressed and duly proud of Izack and our old boys.
"I just hope it leads to many more many Tests to come and here is hoping he is part of a bright new future for the Wallabies.
"It is a big moment for him.
"You couldn't get any harder opposition than the All Blacks, but what a wonderful achievement for a young man."