Wallabies strengthen the Force
January 7, 2011
Matt Hodgson in action for the Wallabies against Leicester during the end of season tour © Getty Images
The Western Forces' Australia internationals have returned early to pre-season training prior to the new Super Rugby season.
Wallabies Nathan Sharpe, James O'Connor and Matt Hodgson joined the rest of the Force squad, who have been put through an intense pre-season regime since mid-November, in training this week ahead of their official return to action next week.
Hodgson, who was capped in the Wallabies back-row in 2010 and was part of the year-ending tour of Europe, believes an early return to training will help give him and the Force a much needed edge this season.
"I'm just doing bits and pieces to get ready for the season, it's only a short turnaround before it all starts. A few sessions on the field and in the gym now will definitely help so that come next week I'm not that far behind the other boys," he said. "Sharpie and I did a fair bit on Monday and Rabbit [O'Connor] has joined us so we're just doing our own little bit to catch up to where the boys are at after their massive pre-season they've had.
"From what I've seen in terms of our programme the a main focus for the returning Wallabies will be strength and conditioning for but we'll also incorporate a few skills and line-outs next week with the team."
The Force begin their 2011 campaign against the Reds in Brisbane on February 20 with warm-up games against the Waratahs on February 5 and 10. And Hodgson, twice named the Force's player of the year, is raring to go on the new season.
"It's a clean slate for us and I think we'll go out strong and enjoy the expanded competition. I for one can't wait for Super Rugby to get underway," he said.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont