Hodgson to bring up Force milestone against Chiefs
Matt Hodgson made his Super Rugby debut, starting on the openside flank in the Emirates Western Force’s inaugural match against the Brumbies in 2006. Fast forward eight seasons and tomorrow night he will take the field for a record 93rd time as the most Super Rugby caps for the Western Australian club.
The milestone sees him surpass rugby stalwart Nathan Sharpe’s previous record of 92 games and after signing with the Western Australian side for a further two years, he is set to become the first player to notch up 100 caps in the ocean blue jersey.
“I’m pretty proud to overtake the man [Sharpe]; he’s got every other record in Australian rugby so to get one up on him is good!” he said.
This season, Hodgson was a standout candidate to captain the side, and was quick to repay the honour by re-signing with the club for a further two seasons.
With the side – guided by Head Coach Michael Foley –relaunching itself in 2013, Hodgson is determined to continue putting back into the club to see it successful.
“My goal is to finish what we’ve started with Foles coming on board,” he said. “We’ve got a three-year plan and I want to be part of that and get the good results and be a stronghold in Australian rugby.
“Being part of so many new players’ first times to play for the Force gives you an added enthusiasm to keep playing and be part of that.
“I really want to play 100 Super Rugby games and knowing that will be at the one club would be a huge honour for me and a great achievement for West Australian rugby.”
Prior to joining the Perth-based province, Hodgson made his mark in the Shute Shield and earned junior representation with the Australian side at the IRB Under 21 World Championships in 2002.
While selection with the Australian Sevens squad followed, he was earned a contract for the Super 14 newcomers, the Emirates Western Force, ahead of the 2006 season.
Since then, ‘Hodgo’ has remained a stalwart of the side, featuring in the Western Australian back row in all but 15 of the club’s 108 Super Rugby matches.
He has been crowned the Emirates Western Force Player of the Year on two occasions (2009 and 2010) and claimed the Force Man Award – recognising the player who best represents the club’s values and ethos both on and off the field – three times (2006, 2007, 2010).
While his performances for his beloved Force have been unwavering, it wasn’t until 2010 – despite inclusion in several Wallaby squad prior – that he made his Test debut for Australia in the 49-3 win over Fiji in Canberra.
Another five international appearances followed, however, it is the Emirates Western Force that has his undivided focus.
While a hamstring injury stalled the start to this year’s Super Rugby season, he has been quick to make up for lost time, featuring in the most runs, most tackles and most pick-and-drives in the competition to date.
Hodgson’s on-field efforts and commitment to the club have not been overlooked by Foley.
“As a team, we’re all thrilled for Hodgo,” Foley said. “He is someone who is respected throughout the entire Force family.