Rodney Christopher Blake
- 808Wallaby Number
Rodney Blake didn’t earn the nickname ‘Rodzilla’ because he was small. At 6”3’ and almost 21 stone Blake was, during his time, the biggest prop in Australian senior rugby. Born and raised in Tonga, Blake had a good rugby pedigree as his father Paul represented Otago in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship.
In 1997 his family settled in Sydney and Blake attended Trinity Grammar School but transferred to Homebush Boys’ High School for his graduation year of 2001.
A highly skilled scrummager with a good turn of pace and soft hands for such a big man, he won selection for New South Wales Schools and Australian Schools that same year. After graduation Blake played two seasons of club rugby with West Harbour before he was invited to Brisbane to participate in the Reds Academy program. He joined the Sunnybank club and was named in the Australian U21 team for the 2004 world championships.
In 2005, Blake made his Super Rugby debut for Queensland against the Highlanders. The following year he won the Pilecki Medal, awarded to the Reds Players’ Player of the Year, and was duly rewarded with a Test debut against England in Sydney.
A foot injury, subsequent surgery and a recovery period shortened his 2007 season with the Reds to just six games. During that period Blake was approached by French Rugby Club Bayonne. When Blake was left out of the 2008 Wallaby Spring Tour he accepted a contract with Bayonne to effectively bring down the curtain on his seven Test career.
Represented Australian Schools against Samoan Schools, Japan U19s, Wales Schools, Scotland U19s and Ireland Schools.
Selected in the Australian squad for the third-annual IRB U21 Rugby World Championships in Scotland.
Blake won his first Test cap at tight head prop in the starting XV for the 1st Test, 34-3 victory over England in Sydney. He scored Australia’s third and final try of that match to become the 85th Wallaby to score a Test try on debut. Blake won a total of seven caps at No.3 over the course of the season.