TEAM NEWS: Petaia out with shoulder injury; Reds make five changes for Jaguares clash

Super Rugby
by Emma Greenwood

Young gun Jordan Petaia's Super Rugby season is under a cloud again after the Wallabies centre suffered a shoulder injury during training that has ruled him out of Sunday's clash against the Jaguares.

The Reds have made five changes to their starting XV for the match against last year's Super Rugby finalists in Argentina, including rewarding Jock Campbell's outstanding start to the season with the no.15 jersey.

But all that pales compared to news Petaia's injury will be further assessed in Brisbane, never a sign that it is a minor problem.

Reds coach Brad Thorn said he was "gutted" for Petaia.

"He’ll return home with the squad and will be looked at for further diagnosis," Thorn said.

"It’s personally frustrating for him and also for us as a group on the field."

It's understood Petaia suffered the injury in contact in a regulation tackle late in the Reds' training session on Wednesday night (Argentinian time) and was ruled out on Thursday.

He will remain with the team in Argentina and undergo scans early next week after arriving back in Brisbane.

Hunter Paisami will start at outside centre in Petaia's absence, with Chris Feauai-Sautia brought on to the wing for Campbell.

"Chris Sautia is the longest serving at the club in this team and he didn't get much NRC last year, he's been working away in the pre-season and has got his conditioning into a good space," Thorn said.

"At his best, he's a real asset and powerful with the ball and a smart defender and good under the high ball.

"Jock Campbell, he's been playing great footy and it's competitive for those spots and he gets his opportunity this week and I'm sure he'll take it with both hands."

With Harry Hockings recovered from a broken hand and taking a spot on the bench, Thorn has also shuffled his pack, with Lukhan Salakaia-Loto moving into the back row and Angus Scott-Young heading to the bench with rising star Harry Wilson retaining his place at no.8.

Angus Blyth will start at lock alongside Izack Rodda.

"There's not much difference between them all - Izack Rodda, you've got Angus Blyth, you've got Harry Hockings and you've got Lukhan (Salakaia-Loto) who can play in the second row as well.

"They've come along nicely in the last two or three years and it's pretty even across them and Blythy's been in great form and he gets some time out there together with Rods and they've got some work to do.

"(Hockings) is back and he'll get his opportunity and he's got a big future in front of him.

"He came in as a 19-year-old and is now into his third season but we expect him to bring his best and hopefully contribute to success on Saturday night."

The Reds have lost their opening two games and are desperate to salvage a win from their three-week around the world slog before a first home match next Saturday.

“We’ve got a tough opposition again in the Jaguares. They’re last year’s finalists and a slick outfit so they’ll be a tough opponent," Thorn said.

 “We want to take the learnings from last week and the week before. We’ve had two tight games and we’re looking to finish this tour with something to bring back with us.

"We've got two bonus points but we're looking for that win that will put us in a good space."

The Reds take on the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on Sunday, February 16, kicking off at 9:00am AEST, with the match broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports and Kayo.


Reds to face Jaguares

1. JP Smith – GPS

2. Alex Mafi – Bond University

3. Taniela Tupou – Brothers

4. Izack Rodda – Easts

5. Angus Blyth – Bond University

6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto - Souths

7. Liam Wright (c) – Easts

8. Harry Wilson – Brothers

9. Tate McDermott – University of Queensland

10. James O’Connor – Brothers

11. Henry Speight – Bond University

12. Hamish Stewart – Brothers

13. Hunter Paisami – Wests

14. Chris Feauai-Sautia – Souths

15. Jock Campbell – University of Queensland


16. Sean Farrell* – Souths

17. Dane Zander – Norths

18. Josh Nasser – University of Queensland

19. Harry Hockings – Bond University

20. Angus Scott-Young – University of Queensland

21. Moses Sorovi – Wests

22. Isaac Lucas - Sunnybank

23. Bryce Hegarty – GPS

*denotes potential Super Rugby and Queensland debut