Reds name youngest Super Rugby debutant in history

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Jordan Petaia could find his way into the Queensland rugby history books on Saturday, named for a potential debut at the age of 18 and 24 days.

Should he take to the field against the Brumbies, Petaia will be Queensland's youngest ever Super Rugby debutant.

Born in Victoria in 2000 but raised in Brisbane, Petaia was a star of Brisbane State High's 1st XV in 2016 and 2017, earning an Australian Schoolboys berth last year.

Petaia then made his Premier Rugby debut at outside centre for Wests a fortnight ago and was so impressive in Queensland's intra-squad trial in the preseason that coach Brad Thorn has decided to hand him a chance to make his mark on the big stage.

"He may be young, but he has bags of talent and has shown plenty of promise at training and in our intra-squad trial," Thorn said.Brad Thorn has named Jordan Petaia for a potential Super Rugby debut. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"It’s a good opportunity for him."

Petaia said he was stunned to have received the call up for Saturday's showdown with the Brumbies.

"I was pretty amazed, stunned really. It's exciting," Petaia said.

"The coaches have said just to keep doing what I've been doing.

"My parents were in shock when I told them.

"I called Dad and he was super happy, he sounded a bit teary."

Petaia forms part of a new look Reds bench, which also features the return of Lukhan Tui, James Tuttle, Liam Wright and Ruan Smith - Harry Hockings, Tate McDermott and Angus Scott-Young all dropping out of the 23.

Scott Higginbotham will wear the captain's armband on Saturday. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan HertelThere are three personnel changes to the starting XV, too - Scott Higginbotham set to resume his role as captain at No. 8, Brandon Paenga-Amosa slotting back in at hooker and Eto Nabuli returning on the left wing.

Nabuli's return will see Samu Kerevi slide back to inside centre for his 50th cap, with Chris Feauai-Sautia named at outside centre.

"We’re pleased to be able to welcome Scott (Higginbotham) back to the starting side and the captaincy," Thorn said.

"He’s been itching to get back into the Reds jersey and will want to build on his performance from two weeks ago.

"Lukhan (Tui) is in a similar position. Having not played since his suspension, he’s keen to make his mark.

“It’s been tough to select the side each week.

"The guys are pushing each other hard at training and unfortunately some people miss out.

"It’s difficult, but it’s good to see the competition and depth within the squad."

The Reds face the Brumbies at GIO Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here

TEAM

Reds to face Brumbies

IN: Ruan Smith, Lukhan Tui, Liam Wright, James Tuttle, Jordan Petaia

OUT: Angus Scott-Young, Sef Fa'agase, Harry Hockings, Tate McDermott, Duncan Paia'aua,

1. James Slipper

2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa

3. Taniela Tupou

4. Izack Rodda

5. Kane Douglas

6. Caleb Timu

7. Adam Korczyk

8. Scott Higginbotham (C)

9. Ben Lucas

10. Jono Lance

11. Eto Nabuli

12. Samu Kerevi

13. Chris Feauai-Sautia

14. Filipo Daugunu

15. Aidan Toua

Reserves

16. Alex Mafi

17. JP Smith 

18. Ruan Smith

19. Lukhan Tui

20. Liam Wright

21. James Tuttle 

22. Hamish Stewart

23. Jordan Petaia