SQUAD NEWS: Petaia named in Bledisloe group

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

Jordan Petaia is officially back in the Wallabies mix, named in Australia's squad for the opening Bledisloe Test.

Petaia has been working his way back to full match fitness via club rugby, playing for Wests and Sunnybank in recent weeks as he returns from a lisfranc injury he suffered in round three of Super Rugby.

The 19-year-old has been training with the extended squad in Brisbane in recent weeks but has not been formally added to a squad this year until now.

Petaia was on the verge of making his Wallabies debut in Australia's Spring Tour Test against Italy last November, before a hamstring twinge cut short his chances of playing.

That lisfranc injury set him back again after a sensational start to the Super Rugby season, but he has always remained in the Test frame as a World Cup bolter.

The teenager joins David Pocock (calf) and Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee) as additions to as 36-man squad for the opening Bledisloe week, with all three working their way back from injuries.

Jack Dempsey has missed out on the Wallabies squad. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyBackrower Jack Dempsey has been omitted from the squad after suffering a shoulder injury playing for Gordon in the Shute Shield and is set to be sidelined up to a month.

Brumbies no. 8 Pete Samu is also not entirely out of the frame but he won't be playing in the Canberra competition with his side Easts out of contention.

Winger Jack Maddocks is a notable omission, set to line up for Sydney's Easts in club rugby again this weekend.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said Petaia wouldn't necessarily be rushed into the match day squad in Perth.

“Squad decisions are getting harder and harder to make. So many lads are putting their hands up at training and at club rugby around the country, and each one of them is pushing the other to get better each day," he said.

“It’s great to see Jordan (Petaia) back. He’s had a few games of club rugby under his belt now so we’ll look to integrate him this week in Perth and give him time to settle in.

“We were pleased to get the win against Argentina and we felt we built on some things from the previous game against South Africa and now we’ll be looking to build on that.

“There’s strong belief in the group and it’s showing itself in how hard they’re training and how committed they are to doing whatever they need to do to achieve our goals."

The Wallabies take on New Zealand at Optus Stadium, Perth on August 10, kicking off at 5:45pm local, 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on Network Ten, FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. The Wallaroos take on the Black Ferns in the first match of a double header at the stadium, kicking off at 3pm local, 5pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.

SQUAD

Forwards

Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests, Brumbies, 25)

Rory Arnold (21 Tests , Brumbies, 29)

Adam Coleman (31, Melbourne Rebels, 28)

Folau Fainga’a (9 Tests, Brumbies, 24)

Michael Hooper (c) (93 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 27)

Luke Jones (4 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)

Sekope Kepu (105 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 33)

Tolu Latu (12 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

Isi Naisarani (2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)

David Pocock (77 Tests, Brumbies, 31)

Tatafu Polota-Nau (89 Tests, Leicester, 34)

Izack Rodda (19 Tests, Queensland Reds, 22)

Rob Simmons (96 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (13, Queensland Reds, 23)

Scott Sio (56 Tests, Brumbies, 27)

James Slipper (88 Tests, Brumbies, 30)

Taniela Tupou (13 Tests, Queensland Reds, 23)

Jordan Uelese (3 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 22)

Rob Valetini (uncapped, Brumbies, 20)

Liam Wright (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 21)

Backs

Adam Ashley-Cooper (117 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 35)

Tom Banks (4 Tests, Brumbies, 25)

Kurtley Beale (85 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 30)

Bernard Foley (69 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)

Will Genia (102 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 31)

Dane Haylett-Petty (32 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)

Reece Hodge (35 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 24)

Samu Kerevi (27 Tests, Queensland Reds, 25)

Marika Koroibete (21 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 27)

Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests, Brumbies, 28)

Christian Lealiifano (20 Tests, Brumbies, 31)

James O’Connor (45 Tests, Queensland Reds, 29)

Jordan Petaia (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 19)

Joe Powell (4 Tests, Brumbies, 25)

Matt To'omua (44 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 29)

Nic White (22 Tests, Exeter Chiefs, 29)