Teenager Jordan Petaia In Wallabies World Cup Squad
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has confirmed his 31-man squad for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, with youngster Jordan Petaia the only surprise inclusion.
The 19-year old missed most of the 2019 Super Rugby season following a Lisfranc injury but has since recovered to full fitness.
Petaia is the only uncapped player in a group which boasts 1,406 caps of Test experience, 200 more than the squad for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
It will be captained by Michael Hooper, who is set for his second appearance at rugby’s showpiece, while 18 players are due to make their World Cup debuts.
At the other end of the spectrum, Adam Ashley-Cooper will play in his fourth World Cup, becoming just the second Wallaby ever to do so after George Gregan. Ashley-Cooper has played in 17 matches at the global tournament, just five games behind all-time leaders Jason Leonard and Richie McCaw.
Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika said: “Firstly, I would like to thank all of the players who have contributed to the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup campaigns this season.
“We’ve become a really tight group and it was a very difficult process in picking only 31 players, but I know each player selected will travel to Japan with the full support of those team mates who won’t board the flight.
👀 @crusadersrugby will need to watch out for the Red’s latest superstar when they clash in Brisbane tonight! Here’s a reminder of what Jordan Petaia did to the @Highlanders last week…#REDvCRU #RaiseTheStakes pic.twitter.com/0cMdE89Zk0
— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) March 1, 2019
“We have worked really hard at building each week and each game so far this season, and play a brand of Rugby that Australia would be proud of and get every player contributing towards the outcome.
“It’s also important that we select a squad that will handle the tournament play and our draw in particular at the Rugby World Cup, as well as maintain a strong competition for places in the team.
“These next few weeks are about building and adding that little extra edge as a squad and we’ll be working hard to make sure we deliver on the qualities we want people to see when we run out on the field in Japan.
“We have five extra train-on members coming with us to New Caledonia and then we’ll return to take on Samoa, who we have had great clashes with in the past.”