Queensland’s Petaia again stakes his Wallabies claim

Alex Mitchell |

The Wallabies have no shortage of quality fullback options for this year’s Rugby World Cup , with Tom Wright and Jordan Petaia the latest to trade haymakers.

Wright’s ACT Brumbies clung on to a 23-17 Super Rugby Pacific win against Queensland on Saturday, but Petaia’s Reds were only in the contest thanks to his brilliant second-half double.

Wright finished with 136 metres and again looked composed throughout, while Petaia responded to a nine-metre, four-error first half by putting on a show in the second.

Queensland captain Tate McDermott said he’d showed his quality by answering the bell after being rattled early.

“Jordy’s been a rock for us. Look at that Hurricanes game, the game last week, he’s in some of the best form of his life,” he said.

“What you saw in the second half was just what we’ve asked from him, just to get his hands on the ball because he’s such a dangerous threat.

“It was tough for Jordy in that first half because he was under so much pressure from the high ball, we didn’t do a job to protect him.

“A lot of that’s not on Jordy, that’s team errors.”

Petaia showed his complete range of skills in his double, soaring high above Brumby opponents to catch a ground a high ball before beating two defenders with a powerful run later to give his team a lifeline.

The versatile 18-cap Wallaby has typically featured at wing or inside centre for the national team but is shining at fullback as teammate Jock Campbell continues his return from injury.

McDermott said his side’s second-half rally had been too little, too late, but saw plenty of encouraging signs despite slipping to 1-2 on the seasons.

“We were a lot better at getting and keeping that momentum. A lot of that ties into our breakdown work,” he said.

“The first half we were scrappy, we probably put (five-eighth Tom Lynagh) under pressure from our breakdown.

“Our defence was awesome the whole night, really proud of the effort and that’s got to be the standard moving forward for us.”