"Fingers crossed": Petaia return would be "huge" boost for Reds, Wright says

Super Rugby - AU
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Reds captain Liam Wright says Jordan Petaia would be a 'huge" addition to the team if he is cleared to face the Brumbies this weekend.

Petaia has been out of action since suffering a shoulder in training in Argentina and undergoing surgery on the joint back in February.

With the original 2020 schedule, Petaia's Super Rugby was ended in that moment and the youngster was simply holding out hope that he would be available for Wallabies duties.

The utility back has been in full training in the past week and is a serious chance of suiting up against the Brumbies in Canberra, in what would be his first Super Rugby outing 

Wright said it was great to see Petaia back in full training and hoped he could be back in the side sooner 

"It'd be huge (to see him back)," he said.

"He's tracking along quite nicely and getting back into the full swing of things.

"I think there's a few more boxes to tick but it's just nice to see him back in training and looking pretty confident.

"He's had a bad run so it's good to see him confident in his body again and just enjoying his footy I think. Fingers crossed we'll have a look at him."

This is not Petaia's first long layoff - the 20-year-old has battled hamstring and foot injuries that have curtailed his Test and Super Rugby campaigns in recent seasons.

Wright said the group would be really excited to see Petaia back on the field after so long away.

"The boys have been really supportive," he said.

"When he did his shoulder (in BA), he chose to stay on with us, which says a lot i think about the group and how welcoming they are to teach other and supportive as well.

"He's done a lot of hard work and this COVID break's probably helped him and a few other guys...as well get back into the mix of possibly playing in this competition again.

"So, it's been probably a good thing for our rehab list to get back and they've done a lot of hard work while we've been on the field. Credit to them and hopefully they'll get a shot pretty soon."

Queensland is also likely to receive a boost in the forward pack with Angus Blyth in line to make his return from injury as well.

Blyth hurt his shoulder against the Rebels in round two but is expected to be available this weekend.

His return will be timely against the set piece strength the Brumbies possess with the Reds effectively playing five backrowers in their starting side in their last outing.

The ACT's scrum has been patchy this season but Wright said they didn't expect that to be a trend in Super Rugby AU.

"They're still pretty much the Wallabies front row there so you can't take them lightly or write them off at all," he said.

"Some of the games, the calls have been a bit here and there as well and they've probably felt a bit hard done by so I think they'll still back themselves there and likewise we back our guys to go down there and do a job as well so I think it'll be a pretty good contest up front."

The Reds take on the Brumbies on Saturday August 1 at GIO Stadium, Canberra, kicking off at 7:15pm AEST, LIVE on Foxtel, Foxtel Now and Kayo Sports. Buy tickets here. Buy a Kayo subscription here.