'Give it to them': Alex Hodgman raring for first taste of QLD-NSW rivalry

Thu, Feb 22, 2024, 3:00 AM
Lachlan Grey
by Lachlan Grey

With 65 caps and a Trans Tasman title in 2021, Reds recruit Alex Hodgman has seen his fair share of Super Rugby grudge matches.

Now, he's relishing the chance to face a new nemesis after being named at loosehead to face the Waratahs in Round 1 at Suncorp Stadium.

Check out the latest Round 1 teams for Super Rugby Pacific here.

Speaking with rugby.com.au on Thursday, Hodgman likened the build-up for Saturday's clash to New Zealand's greatest rugby rivalry - Blues versus Crusaders.

"It's just another step up, you know,' Hodgman said.

"You just want to give it to those guys and ultimately the prep is sharper, everything's more focused and when you get to those games, the whole 80 minutes is pure intensity."

Hodgman's stint off the pine in Queensland's trial win over NSW gave him a taste of the action but it's chalk and cheese to the real deal come Round 1.

The scrum battle alone should be worth the price of admission - Hodgman plus Wallaby duo Matt Faessler and Zane Nonggorr against NSW Test props Angus Bell and Harry Johnson-Holmes - and the list of international forwards grows even longer with Jed Holloway and Langi Gleeson fronting up to Reds trio Liam Wright, Fraser McReight and Harry Wilson.

Throw in two Wallaby halfbacks going toe-to-toe, Hunter Paisami charging into Izaia Perese and the scene is set for a mammoth contest.

Small wonder Hodgman is chomping at the bit.

"I actually thought we were on top of them through that (trial) game, obviously the ref interpreted it differently at times but man I love that stuff in the trenches, goal-line defence, scrumming 5 metres out," Hodgman said.

"That's where you earn your money right there. It's just about imposing your will on another person and creating as much dominance as I can for my team.

"We go hard as we can at training but when you hit the field it's so different.

"You can run as much as you can but as soon as you've made 3 or four tackle you're breathing heavy, you're doing three or four scrums, then three or four mauls and from there it's all about refocusing and switching back in."

In a statement, Kiss said Hodgman would play a crucial role against NSW.

“Having a prop of Alex’s vast experience is fantastic. He’s played a lot of Super Rugby,: Kiss said.

“As a team, we know what the Waratahs are capable of and what this game means to them. Nothing is taken for granted.

“The team picked for Queensland has the responsibility to fill the jersey and take on a NSW team we expect to be a difficult opponent."

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