Petaia set for fullback stint with Barbarians as Rennie clears up Cooper confusion

Tue, 12/10/2021, 04:37 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies win 4 in a row in 2021 as they down the Pumas at CBUS stadium

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie will take advantage of his impending Barbarians stint, looking to select Jordan Petaia at fullback as he cleared up confusion surrounding Quade Cooper.

The 21-year-old's move has been earmarked by coaching staff and Petaia himself throughout the Rugby Championship.

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Whilst Reece Hodge and Andrew Kellaway have been preferred at the back, there was temptation to bring back the likes of Kurtley Beale or Bristol standout Luke Morahan to cover fullback with Tom Banks (hand) injured.

However, Rennie is confident they have the players to fill the position, including Petaia, revealing he will use his one-off game as Barbarians coach against Samoa on November 27 to trial him out.

“We’re constantly talking about players who are overseas..we've spoken about everyone over there but we're still trying to promote from within,” said Rennie last week about the fullback position.

“We think Hodgey (Reece Hodge] can do a job for us there. We’ve got Andrew Kellaway, who’s played a little bit of 15, certainly trained a lot at 15 for us.

'We’d like to see Jordie play a lot of 15 at Super level before considering him at Test level and the plan is from a Barbarians point of view, Jordie will stay and play No.15 in that game.”

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Meanwhile, Rennie has shed some light over the selection of Quade Cooper for the exhibition game, which the flyhalf denied.

Cooper was announced as part of the squad last week, but took to social media to deny any involvement in the game.

“(We) jumped the gun on that one there. We’d spoken to Quade, but he’s got a club to go back to, too,” Rennie said.

“We’re obviously keen for him to tour and stay another week, but obviously that makes it a little more difficult.

"He was certainly interested but he hadn’t committed. All good, no damage done.”

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