Wallabies utility back Reece Hodge wants to do everything he can to ‘demand selection’ for Saturday's Test against Scotland in Sydney.
Hodge was the incumbent inside centre for the Wallabies heading into the June Series but impressive training performances from Karmichael Hunt meant the 22-year-old started on the replacements bench in the 37-14 win against Fiji in Melbourne last weekend.
It was a selection that reflected a team picked on form, first in Super Rugby and then in camp, and possibly a sign that spots start from a clean slate every week.
“I think training's always a big factor in who gets selected so I guess it's up to whoever – me, Kyle (Godwin), Karmichael – whoever else is considered to push their case at training," Hodge told the Australian Rugby Union's official website.
“It's great to be able to push your case for selection but I think ;K’ did a great job on the weekend so it's going to be tough to get the spot back.”
Hunt was one of the best for the Wallabies against Fiji, showing aggression in defence and featuring in the lead-up to one of Israel Folau’s tries.
That, though, hasn’t dampened Hodge’s desire to claim back the inside centre spot, as the Wallabies look to prepare for their Scottish foes.
“It's up to the coaches to decide who they think’s best for the job week to week, so as a player we can only do our best at training and try and put the performances out there that demand selection,” added the Rebels stalwart.
The competition for the spot will not get any easier, with the looming return of Kurtley Beale for the Rugby Championship, after a superb season with Premiership finalists, Wasps.
Hodge’s utility factor is well-documented and again this season he has played across the backline for the Melbourne Rebels in an injury-riddled season for the club.
No matter where he is put, he knows there’s no guaranteed path to a regular Test spot.
“I think there's a lot of competition for all those spots so it's not really a case of one being easier to crack than the other,” he said.
“I'm comfortable playing wherever the coaches want to put me, so if that's 12,13,15, if that's wing, whatever it is, I just want to do the best I can for the team and not let anyone down when you're wearing the gold jersey.”
A berth in the 23 on Saturday would be the 22-year-old’s first Test outing in his home town, Sydney, a chance he doesn’t want to let slip.
“It's special every time you pull on the jersey but to do it in front of a lot of family and friends in Sydney this week would be a real special moment, so doing what I can to crack the 23 and looking forward to a big one against Scotland,” added Hodge.