Hodgson Test recall earned with Force
Hodgson Test recall earned with Force

Western Force captain Matt Hodgson's remarkable year has been capped with selection for the Wallabies clash with South Africa at Patersons Stadium on Saturday night.

The veteran flanker's irresistible Super Rugby form, where he topped the competition tackle and turnover count, earned him a recall three years after his last appearance, against the Springboks in the 39-20 win in Sydney.

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said Hodgson, who has six international caps, was a game changer who would create pressure in areas lacking in the 51-20 loss to the All Blacks last month.

"He's the sort of guy that can actually change the game. He can really add something at the back end of the game," McKenzie said.

"Matt's been fantastic all season on the ball.

"When everyone's getting a bit tired and a bit slow he'll add a bit of tempo to the contest.

"He's been one of the most consistent players going and we know how effective he was at the breakdown in terms of putting on pressure and forcing turnovers.

"In terms of creating pressure we didn't do that so well last time across the game.

"We weren't able to get too much momentum so we need to have different tools available to us across 80 minutes to keep the pressure on and keep them honest."

Hodgson, 34, a Force found-ation player, three-times player-of-the-year and the first to play 100 Super games for the club, was named on the reserves bench with Force teammate Pek Cowan.

McKenzie praised Hodgson's work ethic and commitment.

"Matt has been the ultimate team member," McKenzie said.

"I know he'll be really hungry.

"He's done everything he could possibly do without actually getting on the field.

"He'll go out and make the most of the opportunity because probably deep down he wasn't sure whether he was going to get another crack.

"He'll really treasure the moment."

McKenzie has reunited NSW halves Bernard Foley and Nick Phipps, with Kurtley Beale and Nic White dropped to the bench.

Adam Ashley Cooper has been moved to the wing, Tevita Kuridrani is at outside centre and James Hanson starts at hooker.

Second-row James Horwill returns to a bench with a 6-2 forwards-backs split to take on the traditionally strong Springboks pack.

"Matt has been the ultimate team member. I know he'll be really hungry."

The West Australian

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