Teenager Petaia bolts into Wallabies' Bledisloe camp

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Queensland teenager Jordan Petaia is a surprise inclusion in the Wallabies camp to head to Cessnock this week.

Petaia has been training with the wider Wallabies group in recent weeks and impressed playing in Friday night's trial for Michael Cheika's side.

The 18-year-old became Queensland's youngest Super Rugby debutant when he played his first Reds game earlier this year and he hasn't looked back.

Playing mainly on the wing, Petaia slotted into 13 after Samu Kerevi was injured.

Though it seems unlikely he would feature in the Bledisloe in a fortnight's time, the teen hasn't put a foot wrong yet and the outside centre spot is one that is still fairly open with injuries to Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani.

Tatafu Polota-Nau will return to the squad for the first time since moving to the UK, one of four hookers in the 36-man group travelling to the Hunter Valley.

Polota-Nau is eligible to play for the Wallabies under 'Giteau's Law' but was left out of the June Series squad after a long Premiership season.

Cheika said he had spoken to the hooker last month ahead of the Rugby Championship, with a view to ensuring Polota-Nau was fresh for both club and country.

"I'll see him in the next couple of hours. we've been liaising over the phone," he said.

"I saw him when he was in Sydney, maybe a month ago or so when we finalised exactly what would be happening and we're working together with Leicester as well to make sure these players don't get burnt to a crisp either and from our end and theirs and they've been excellent in that.

"I think you've got to commend them for the way that they've approached it with their players. It shows why they're one of the top clubs in Europe and have been for many, many years."

He is joined by Leicester teammate Matt Toomua, whose recent signing with the Rebels and Rugby Australia made him Wallabies eligible.

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has been named in the squad as he recovers from a hamstring injury but it is unclear whether he will be fit for the first Test on August 18.

Cheika will trim the squad later on in the week ahead of the August 18 Bledisloe opener.

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks on Saturday August 18, kicking off at 8pm, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

SQUAD

Forwards

Jermaine Ainsley* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 22)

Allan Alaalatoa (23 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Rory Arnold (15 Tests, Brumbies, 28)

Adam Coleman (23 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Folau Faingaa* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)

Ned Hanigan (13 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)

Michael Hooper (c) (82 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Sekope Kepu (94 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 32)

Tolu Latu (7 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 25)

Brandon Paenga-Amosa (3 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

David Pocock (69 Tests, Brumbies, 30)

Tatafu Polota-Nau (82 Tests, Leicester, 33)

Tom Robertson (21 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)

Izack Rodda (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)

Pete Samu (3 Tests, Brumbies, 26)

Rob Simmons (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Scott Sio (46 Tests, Brumbies, 26)

Caleb Timu (2 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)

Lukhan Tui (7 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)

Taniela Tupou (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Backs

Tom Banks* (uncapped, Brumbies, 24)

Kurtley Beale (74 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Israel Folau (65 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Bernard Foley (58 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 28)

Will Genia (90 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)

Dane Haylett-Petty (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)

Reece Hodge (27 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 23)

Marika Koroibete (11 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Jack Maddocks* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 21)

Billy Meakes* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 27)

Sefa Naivalu (7 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)

Jordan Petaia* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 18)

Nick Phipps (64 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Curtis Rona (3 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Matt Toomua (33 Tests, Leicester/Melbourne Rebels, 28)

*denotes uncapped