Rennie 'excited' to unleash Jordan Petaia after injury return

Thu, 05/08/2021, 07:07 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and captain Michael Hooper have spoken to media this afternoon via Zoom from Auckland.

He resisted pulling the trigger in the France series but Wallabies coach Dave Rennie is excited to unleash returning winger Jordan Petaia against the All Blacks for the first Test at Eden Park.

Petaia returns after missing Super Rugby Trans-Tasman and the France series due to a quad complaint.

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Whilst the 21-year-old was left out of the squad, Rennie revealed his impressive training form when he joined at the back end of the series nearly saw Petaia added as a shock inclusion for the final Test.

However, given the Reds flyer's struggle with injuries, the Wallabies coach believes the move to hold him back will allow him to test the Kiwis' impressive backline

“It’s fantastic to have Jordy (Petaia) back,” Rennie told reporters on Thursday.

“He trained a couple weeks in the French series and he looked ready to go heading into that third one but we resisted the temptation to get another couple of weeks into him.

“He looks really good and we’re excited for that...We like him as a winger. He’s played a fair bit there at the Reds.

“He’s very good aerially, has a great kicking game and a handful out wide we think. He’s a very good defender so it was a pretty simple choice to put him there.”

Wallabies Bledisloe one team announcement press conference

Petaia headlined a number of changes for the Wallabies, with flanker Lachie Swinton ruled out due to an ankle injury.

Rennie confirmed the Waratahs enforcer and Brumbies scrumhalf Nic White (knee) should be available for selection next week.

“Lachie got an ankle injury in that third Test,” Rennie revealed.

“It blew up a bit (at training) so he’s close but he’s still hasn’t trained fully with the team. He’s a likelihood to be available next week.”

Whilst much has been made about a new era of sorts for the Wallabies, it will mark a new era for World Rugby with the opening Bledisloe the first International to adopt the new trial rule adaptations.

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This includes the 50-22 rule and goal-line drop outs, along with cleaning up the rulings surrounding the latching of ball carriers into contact.

Rennie welcomed the changes, believing it will facilitate more attacking opportunities.

“50-22 is an advantage if you can manoeuvre that, a lineout with your thrown in their 22 but what it does is some attacking space if teams will put an extra player back to defend that which gives more opportunities to attack,” he believes.

“We’ve certainly focused on that but it doesn’t change dramatically what we do. It’s not like we latch on (during contact) maybe like Northern Hemisphere does so that’s not much of an adaption.

“It’s exciting. Those laws have been trialled at Super Rugby, been really positive so it’s good to see it come into International Rugby.”

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