Wallabies veteran Reece Hodge has backed Carter Gordon to handle the step up to Test rugby as he rides the wave of his breakout Super Rugby Pacific campaign.
Gordon, 22, was one of six uncapped players selected in Eddie Jones’ first Wallabies squad to assemble for a training camp on the Gold Coast later this month.
The Rebels flyhalf is leading Stan Sport’s Australian Super Rugby Pacific player of the year race, delivering consistently direct and physical performances.
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“If he keeps up that standard of play, the guys at the Rebels have massive confidence in the way that he’s playing at the moment and there’s no reason why he can’t step up to the next level and do the same thing,” Hodge told reporters.
“I’m really proud of Carter… he’s one of the hardest workers.
“He’s a student of the game, he watches a lot of footy, he has a really good understanding of the game, where to attack and puts his body on the line in defence.
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“Just the intent he’s played with this year on both sides of the ball has meant that he’s deserved his spot in that squad.”
The Wallabies No.10 jersey is well and truly up for grabs and Gordon and Ben Donaldson were the only specialists picked in the training squad.
Overseas-based veterans Quade Cooper and Bernard Foley will listen in via Zoom while Noah Lolesio and James O’Connor were overlooked.
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“It’s up to him now to continue those performances, keep that consistency up and give no excuse not to pick him come Rugby Championship or World Cup time,” Hodge said.
Gordon has the perfect opportunity to further impress Jones when he goes head-to-head with All Blacks star Beauden Barrett in Saturday’s clash with the Blues in Melbourne.
“I love his competitiveness… he’s got that feel of the game of when to flatten up and when to be a little bit deeper, which is a bit of a lost art,” Jones told reporters.
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“He’s instinctively got that, he’s courageous… they’re the sort of players we like to see, they’re never beaten, he never thought his side was beaten (against the Drua), he just kept going and going.
“And ultimately that’s the side we want to produce for Australia, that’s the side people want to see, that they’re always fighting, always in the fight, always never get beat, and to do that we need players who want to do that, and he’s certainly got loads of that at the moment.”
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