The Western Force have suffered a massive blow ahead of their Super Rugby opener against the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday night, with Test lock Izack Rodda set to spend a lengthy stint on the sidelines.
After missing the entire Test season in 2022 because of a foot injury, Rodda suffered another fracture to his foot during the Force’s final trial match against the Fiji Drua on Thursday in Brisbane.
Initially, it was hoped that it was just bruising, but scans have since revealed another fracture.
The Force and Wallabies officials have spent the past 36 hours trying to properly diagnose the injury and put a plan in place for his return.
Given the reoccurring injury, some believe Rodda should be given adequate time to heal and time off his feet.
Others are more optimistic and hope he will only miss the opening rounds.
But one thing is for sure, Rodda’s absence will hurt the Force.
Only new recruit Folau Fainga’a has played more Tests than Rodda, who has started in 31 of his 34 Tests.
A statement from the Western Force confirmed Rodda’s injury.
“Izack Rodda has sustained an injury on his right foot during the pre-season match against the Fijian Drua,” the statement read.
“This is the same foot Rodda had surgery on mid last year. He is currently unavailable for selection with a return to play timeframe developed within the coming days.”
In an interview with The Roar in December, Rodda said the full extent of his foot injury last year only came to light after spending weeks off the field.
“My ankle started to get a bit sore during the games, but I thought it was just minor,” Rodda told The Roar.
“After having eight weeks off, further scans revealed it was a lot worse than we thought, which was a bit of a kick in the teeth.”
Nor did he hide his disappointment about the injury setbacks.
“It really sucked,” he said. “Thinking you’re only out for a certain amount of time, and that was coming around, and they were like it’s no good, it’s going to be the rest of the year, it was devastating.
“We all play to play the highest level. It did suck missing the full year of Test matches this close to a World Cup as well. It’s no fun being on the sidelines and watching the guys play because you want to be out there and doing your best. At the start it was a bit hard to take.
“Rugby’s tough mentally because it’s a rollercoaster – the highs are very high and the lows are very low. With the injury, you get pretty dark for a while because you’re all doing it to try and get to the end goal. To have it all taken away from an injury hits you real fast. It takes a while, a good two months, to get your head around it and stop having those negative thoughts about it.”