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Wallabies are dealt another blow on the eve of Schmidt’s first team with Star Lock heading to France – The Roar

Rugby Australia has been snubbed on the eve of announcing Joe Schmidt’s first Wallabies squad, with Izack Rodda turning down 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 honor a deal with Provence in the French ProD2 competition.

He is expected to be released from his current contract with RA on June 30 and is not expected to be included in Schmidt’s roster on Friday. It comes despite Schmidt regularly being in Rodda’s ear to commit to the Wallabies.

Izack Rodda is unlikely to be mentioned by Joe Schmidt in the New Zealander’s first Wallabies squad announcement following his signing in France. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The roar understands that RA had come back to the drawing board after Rodda was inclined to leave. They had tabled a two-year contract for Rodda and had hoped to move the second rower from Perth to the Waratahs.

Unfortunately, their increased offer came too little too late, as Rodda was already ready for a move.

RA’s reluctance to make Rodda a national addition was likely due to the Western Force Lock being sidelined due to injuries for much of the past two years.

But the past two months have shown that Rodda still has a lot to give.

Now Rodda will join Ned Hanigan in the south of France.

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

Izack Rodda goes to work at the lineout

Izack Rodda played a starring role at the 2019 World Cup, starting in every match for the Wallabies. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

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

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

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

The lack of a world-class tight five continues to haunt Australian rugby.

Last year the Wallabies’ World Cup campaign exploded when Taniela Tupou and Skelton were injured ahead of the second pool match against Fiji.

Without the guts to fall back on, the Wallabies were outmaneuvered and physically battered by the Flying Fijians.

There were high hopes that Rodda could be a solution to alleviate the Wallabies’ five concerns, but now he is the latest big lock to head north.

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

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