Petaia the player to fill Kerevi's shoes: Rodda

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Wallabies lock Izack Rodda will make a timely return to the Queensland starting XV on Friday, named in the side to face the Rebels.

Rodda missed the abysmal 39-16 loss to the Blues due to a shoulder complaint but has recovered in time for the penultimate match of the season, one of four changes to the starting XV which lined up at Eden Park.

Caleb Timu returns to the starting pack ahead of Lukhan Tui is the other change up front, with Samu Kerevi's absence triggering a pair of changes in the backs.

Jordan Petaia will start at outside centre - a position he played at Brisbane State High - with Chris Feauai-Sautia and Izaia Perese both nursing knee injuries, Filipo Daugunu filling Petaia's spot on the right wing.

Daugunu's return to the starting XV has opened the door for a potential debut for Teti Tela, who will provide playmaking cover on the pine.Filipo Daugunu returns to the Reds starting XV. Photo: Getty Images"It’s really disappointing to lose Samu Kerevi to injury. He has been in great form all year," coach Brad Thorn said.

"We’ve had bit of an injury toll in that positon, along with Chris Feauai-Sautia, Izaia Perese and Ben Lucas, but in saying that, it’s an opportunity for Jordan Petaia.

"He has done a fantastic job in his first year of Super Rugby as an 18-year-old.

"He hasn’t been overawed with it and forced his way into the starting side.

"Centre is his natural position, so we’re looking forward to seeing how he goes with this opportunity."

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Rodda said the loss of Kerevi was "massive".Samu Kerevi will be sidelined for three months. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"He was really starting to come into some good form for the Reds and Wallabies," he said.

"It's a shame he will be away for us for the rest of the season and potentially for the Bledisloe."

Kerevi's absence does provide an opportunity for Petaia, who played his schoolboy rugby at outside centre.

"It's a big shoes to fill but what I've looked about Jordy this year is that it doesn't matter whether he's on the bench or starting - he just rips in and it doesn't bother him when he's out there," Rodda said.

"It's like he has been playing for three or four years - he's quite a good player."

TEAM

Reds team to host the Rebels

1. JP Smith – GPS

2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – Sunnybank

3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers

4. Izack Rodda – Easts

5. Kane Douglas – Norths

6. Caleb Timu – Souths

7. George Smith – Brothers

8. Scott Higginbotham (C) - Wests

9. Moses Sorovi – Wests

10. Hamish Stewart – Bond University

11. Eto Nabuli – Souths

12. Duncan Paia’aua – Norths

13. Jordan Petaia – Wests

14. Filipo Daugunu – Wests

15. Jono Lance – University of Queensland

Reserves

16. Alex Mafi – Bond University

17. Harry Hoopert – Brothers

18. Ruan Smith – GPS

19. Lukhan Tui – Souths

20. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland

21. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland

22. Teti Tela – Souths (potential Queensland/Super Rugby debut)

23. Aidan Toua – Easts