Reds Super Rugby trio called in to Junior Wallabies

World Rugby U20s Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Reds rising stars Hamish Stewart, Jordan Petaia and Harry Hockings will be slotted into the Junior Wallabies side for a crunch game against New Zealand.

The trio were initially left out of the squad for the World championships, to remain part of Queensland's Super Rugby campaign, but injuries and the timing of the June Test break changed things.

A broken hand to winger James Ramm and knee injuries for Trevor Hosea and Len Ikitau ended their tournaments, opening up three replacement spots for the team.

Though they weren't initially in the team, the Super Rugby regulars will be a major boon for the Aussies ahead of a must-win game against the Kiwis, whom they lost to in April's Oceania U20s.

The new additions were on a plane the day after the Reds' loss to the Waratahs and coach Jason Gilmore said it was a silver lining to a poor run of injuries.

Hamish Stewart is staying with the Reds while the Junior Wallabies go to France. Photo: Getty Images"We had to obviously assess the three boys and then once we knew that they couldn’t take any further part, the others flew post the Waratahs game.

"Firstly we were disappointed to lose those three guys, they're good players play ,good people and they've added a lot to the program.

"But, it is an opportunity to bring the three boys across and add to the group."

Though they've played little part in the 2018 campaign, Gilmore said he would have no hesitation starting the three in the final pool match, a must-win against New Zealand.

"I mean they’re starting Super Rugby – Harry Hockings started against the Chiefs and Brodie Retallick, so I'm confident they can start but it's about getting their bodies right, not rushing them too much," he said.

Hockings and Stewart have featured for the Junior Wallabies before, with Hockings now part of his third World Championship and Stewart his second, while 18-year-old Petaia will likely make his debut for the side in Friday morning's match.

"They're competing well at Super Rugby at the moment and they have to bring something to the group – the group's been together since January and the other boys have been really good, so they have to bring something.

"They’re highly-skilled players, when you’ve got highly-skilled players they’re competitive and they've got a competitive nature  to win games and dominate."

The Junior Wallabies take on New Zealand in their final World Rugby U20s pool match, on Thursday 9pm local, Friday 5am AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.