July 30, 2020 / 12:16 AM / 17 days ago

Rugby-Wallabies wunderkind Petaia returns on bench for Reds

MELBOURNE, July 30 (Reuters) - Wallabies centre Jordan Petaia, who made his test debut as a teenager at the World Cup in Japan, has been named on the bench for the Queensland Reds’ clash against the ACT Brumbies on Saturday after a long comeback from shoulder surgery.

The 20-year-old needed a left shoulder reconstruction after a training mishap in February at the start of the Super Rugby season, continuing a tough run of injury in the southern hemisphere competition.

Petaia missed all but two games of the 2019 Super Rugby season with a foot problem and also battled a hamstring injury, but he showed enough potential to get the nod as a surprise inclusion in Michael Cheika’s World Cup squad.

He scored a try on debut against Uruguay as the youngest Australian to play at a World Cup and made his first test start at outside centre in the quarter-final loss to England.

Petaia’s inclusion is timely for the Brad Thorn-coached Reds as they seek to dislodge the Brumbies from top spot in Super Rugby AU.

The second-placed Reds are four points behind the undefeated Brumbies in the domestic competition, which is running in place of the abandoned Super Rugby season.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; editing by Richard Pullin

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