Bledisloe Cup: Pocock and Petaia back in Wallabies mix
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Exciting teenage centre Jordan Petaia has the World Cup back in his sights after being named in the Wallabies’ squad for their Rugby Championship clash with New Zealand.
The 19-year-old Queensland Red, sidelined for four months after foot surgery, has been given a chance to push his claims on Saturday week in Perth.
The possible debutant will be joined in the squad by veterans David Pocock (calf) and Tatafu Polota-Nau (knee), with the experienced pair continuing their rehabilitation from injury.
Champion flank Pocock is in a race to be fit for the World Cup in Japan, which starts on September 20.
He was ruled out of a Canberra club rugby cameo, which would have been his first game in five months. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika hasn’t revealed if he will be considered for the All Blacks game or just train with the squad.
The 36-man squad will arrive on Sunday in Perth ahead of the first Test at Optus Stadium with the Rugby Championship crown still up for grabs.
The Perth clash will be one of two Bledisloe Cup Tests in 2019 with the reverse fixture in Auckland this year not included in the Rugby Championship schedule.
Cheika said selection decisions were becoming tougher with just three internationals left before their World Cup-opener on September 21 against Fiji.
“Squad decisions are getting harder and harder to make,” Cheika said.
“So many lads are putting their hands up at training and at club rugby around the country, and each one of them is pushing the other to get better each day.
“It’s great to see Jordan (Petaia) back – he’s had a few games of club rugby under his belt now so we’ll look to integrate him this week in Perth and give him time to settle in.”
Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Adam Coleman (Rebels), Folau Fainga’a (Brumbies), Michael Hooper (capt) (Waratahs), Luke Jones (Rebels), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tolu Latu (Waratahs), Isi Naisarani (Rebels), David Pocock (Brumbies),Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester), Izack Rodda (Reds), Rob Simmons (Waratahs), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Reds), Scott Sio (Brumbies), James Slipper (Brumbies), Taniela Tupou (Reds), Jordan Uelese (Rebels), Rob Valetini (Brumbies), Liam Wright (Reds).
Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Tom Banks (Brumbies), Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Will Genia (Rebels), Dane Haylett-Petty (Rebels), Reece Hodge (Rebels), Samu Kerevi (Reds), Marika Koroibete (Rebels), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies), James O’Connor (Reds), Jordan Petaia (Reds), Joe Powell (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Rebels), Nic White (Exeter Chiefs).