Meet the teenager who toured with the Wallabies last November

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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