A powerfully framed, New Zealand-born hooker, Jordan Uelese was just two years of age and not yet out of nappies when he suited up for the Oriental Rongotai RFC’s U6s alongside All Black #1147 Ardie Savea. The fourth of five boys, he grew up in Wellington and idolised the late, great Jerry Collins before the family moved to Melbourne in 2008. In his first season of senior football Uelese had played just 28 minutes of Super Rugby for the Rebels in three brief stints off the bench before he was plucked from relatively public obscurity into the 2017 Wallaby squad. He was then thrown into the proverbial deep end in his Test debut against South Africa in Perth.
Selected in the Australian U20s squad for the tenth-annual IRB Junior World Championship tournament in Georgia where he played in all five matches. Uelese won his first Test cap off the bench when starting hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau temporarily left the field in just the 18th minute of the 23-23 draw with South Africa at Perth's nib Stadium. He picked up a second replacement cap, and his first international try, one week later in a 45-20 victory over Argentina in Canberra.
Uelese was named in the Wallabies squad for the opening Test of the home series against Ireland. Tragically he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament playing for the Rebels against Auckland the weekend before the first Ireland Test and missed the entire international season.