Australian lock leaves Australia for Pro D2

Australian lock leaves Australia for Pro D2

Rugby Australia has been rebuffed on the eve of Joe Schmidt’s first Wallabies squad announcement, with Izack Rodda rejecting a new contract and heading to France instead.

After months of negotiations between Rodda and RA, The Roar can reveal that the 27-year-old has decided to honour a deal with Provence in France’s ProD2 competition.

He is expected to be released from his current deal with RA on June 30 and now isn’t expected to be named in Schmidt’s squad on Friday. It comes despite Schmidt regularly being in Rodda’s ear to commit to the Wallabies.

Rodda previously played 25 games for Lyon in Top 14 after leaving the Reds when he opted not to take a pay cut during Covid.

The loss of the 34-Test capped second-rower, who played in every World Cup fixture in 2019 and has started in 31 matches, is a big one.

Short of size and experience in the second-row, former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones turned to France to fill his preferred locking combination for the World Cup, with both Will Skelton and Richie Arnold playing in the Top 14.

Rodda’s departure will stretch the Wallabies’ depth in the second-row even further, with other former Australian eligible players like Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Kane Douglas and Emmanuel Meafou also starring in the French Top 14. Another rising star, Harry Hockings, is expected to play for Japan next year once he becomes eligible.

Schmidt will name his first Wallabies squad on Friday at 11am for two Tests against Wales next month.

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