‘I was just praying’: Wallabies superboot Hodge relives near-miss kick

Reece Hodge didn't get much sleep on Sunday night.

That's not unusual for professional athletes, who often struggle to get a good night's sleep just hours after their body has been pumping with adrenaline.

Reece Hodge says he would have no hesitation in putting his hand up to take another clutch penalty at Eden Park on Sunday.Credit:Getty

The next six minutes were frantic and both teams had their chance to secure a 1-0 series lead.

But it was the kick Hodge replayed "hundreds" of times in the early hours of Monday morning.

"Last night wasn't a great start, I'll give you that. It was a bit of a broken sleep last night. I probably replayed it hundreds of times by now," Hodge said when asked if he was restless overnight.

Hodge is the Wallabies' long range specialist. He nailed a similar kick in the 2017 Brisbane Bledisloe to secure a 23-18 win.

As soon as he saw referee Williams stick his right arm out and award the Australians an advantage, the Melbourne Rebels star started thinking about the kick that could win the Wallabies the game.

The blustery Wellington wind – which wreaked havoc with the goal kicking of James O'Connor and Jordie Barrett all afternoon – was front of mind.

"It was obviously pretty swirly wind in Wellington. Throughout the warm up they were going everywhere. Left, right, you always get told to aim just straight down the middle," Hodge said.

"I went to Rabs (O'Connor) for a bit of a heads up on which way it had been going in that second half and he said the wind was left to right. But you can't really trust it too much in Wellington.

"I aimed it just inside the left post and it turns out, just outside the left post would have been a bit better.

"I struck it as well as I could have. I was just praying when it was in the air."

The weight of the situation didn't play on Hodge's mind. He has shown many times – at both Test and Super Rugby level – that he is up to taking and making clutch kicks.

If the same scenario plays out this Sunday at Eden Park, Hodge will call straight for the kicking tee.

"Yeah, absolutely," Hodge said when asked if he would put his hand up for the same kick on Sunday.

"Any time you get a chance and feel confident – why not step up and have a crack?

"When it's in my range, it's something you just have to step up and do and have the confidence to try knock it over."

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