Meet the teenager who toured with the Wallabies last November

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Reds and Australia speedster Jordan Petaia

Date of birth 14 March 2000 Born Victoria Franchise Reds Country Australia Position Back three

How did you get into rugby?

I started playing league when I was eight. I also played soccer. Then when I went to Brisbane State High School at 13 or 14, I started playing union because they didn’t play league there. Now I like union better, it’s more strategic and it’s a fast game.

What positions have you played?

I’ve always been in the back three. I like attacking and running into space. My running game is probably a strength.

Tell us about playing with Matt Toomua when you were younger…

He’s a family friend. There’s a big age difference (ten years), so I didn’t learn so much from him on the field. But I did learn in terms of knowing if you work hard enough and keep pushing, you can go far.

When did you link up with Queensland Reds?

I started full squad training after I’d finished high school. It was a huge step up in terms of training intensity.

2018 was a big year for you. What are your highlights?

My Super Rugby debut was a big one – that was huge. The NRC (National Rugby Championship) final for Queensland Country was a big day and the Wallabies tour was obviously one of the biggest highlights. I was pretty surprised to be called up but there’s a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed it.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career?

I’d say my family. And God. My family are very supportive and have helped me get to where I am. My faith is also important to me and has played a big part in my success.

What do you do away from rugby?

I’m planning to study next year – maybe business – but for the first year I wanted to concentrate on rugby.

What are your goals for 2019?

To make the Super Rugby finals with the Reds and hopefully to make the World Cup squad.

RW VERDICT: One of the youngest players ever called up by the Wallabies, the teen has impressed for the Reds and Queensland Country – and recently signed a four-year contract extension. His skills and size put him in the frame for Japan 2019.

This article originally appeared in the January 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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