KUMAMOTO, Japan (Reuters) - As karaoke singers, Australia’s squad make fine rugby players, according to winger Reece Hodge, who would prefer to belt out the national anthem with his team mates during the World Cup quarter-finals.
Hodge is available after serving a three-match ban for a high tackle against Fiji, having missed the defeat to Pool D rivals Wales and wins over Uruguay and Georgia.
The Wallabies bunkered down at their hotel in Odawara in central Honshu on Saturday, not far from Hakone where nearly a metre of rain pounded down as Typhoon Hagibis passed over.
There was a bowling alley and a karaoke room in the basement of their hotel, where the players tested the sound-proofing with renditions of radio-friendly rock songs.
“So there were a few good renditions of Nickelback, a few duets going down in the karaoke room last night which was good fun,” Hodge said on Sunday.
“It was good to make our minds off rugby for a good few hours.
“There are a few guys who will try to claim they are (the best singers) but there were a few terrible renditions of songs going round there, I think.”
Hodge said teenage team mate Jordan Petaia, fresh from his try-scoring debut on the wing against Uruguay, was one of the stand-outs as he launched into a song by Grammy-winning hip hop artist Eminem.
“Jordie Petaia’s ‘Lose Yourself’ was pretty impressive. He was getting it going there,” said Hodge.
Away from the tropical north, cyclones are a rarity in Australia and Sydney-born Hodge said it was an “interesting experience” listening to the typhoon whistle through the hotel’s windows.
“Just a shout-out to everyone in Japan in the affected areas. Hopefully everyone’s bunkered down well and remains as safe as possible,” he said.
Australia are on track to play England in the quarter-finals, unless Wales slip up against emerging rugby nation Uruguay later on Saturday.
There will be fierce competition among the squad to claim a starting berth for the match in Oita next weekend, particularly among the back three.
“You only had to see what Marika (Koroibete) did on the weekend with his opportunity there ... to know that we’re in a good spot as a back three,” said Hodge, referring to his winger team mate who conjured a breath-taking try against Georgia.
“Now that I’m back in the mix, hopefully we can kind of keep working as a unit and get the result this week.”
Being sidelined was tough for Hodge, but it had given him plenty of time to work on his tackling technique.
“I learned my lesson that it is going to be quite harsh if you stray from that kind of goal so I’ll definitely be trying to tackle low this weekend for sure,” he said.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty