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Wallabies dealt major blow as the extent of Jordan Petaia's injury is revealed

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21st September, 2020
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Jordan Petaia is in serious doubt for the opening Bledisloe Cup clash on October 11 as a result of the hip flexor injury he suffered in the Super Rugby AU final.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting the 20-year-old will be on the sidelines for three to six weeks. With Bledisloe 1 just 20 days away, that timeframe will almost certainly rub him out of the series opener in Wellington and likely Game 2 in Auckland as well.

Petaia sustained the injury during a blistering 40-metre dash to set up the Reds’ first try of the final. He pulled up five metres from the tryline to offload to Harry Wilson and was visibly hampered for the remainder of the half before being eventually substituted at halftime.

It’s just the latest in a series of injury blows which have marred Petaia’s short career. He missed most of 2019 with a lisfranc injury, and a dislocated shoulder would have ended his Super Rugby season in February had it not been pushed back due to the pandemic.

With veteran Tevita Kuridrani omitted from Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad, Petaia was the clear frontrunner to start at outside centre in the first Test of the year, and the injury now highlights a lack of depth at no.13 for the new coach.

James O’Connor played in the position for the Wallabies last year but has been the form flyhalf of Super Rugby AU and is a more natural selection closer to the play, either at 10 or 12.

Petaia’s Queensland teammate Hunter Paisami started in most of the Reds’ games at outside centre this year but is still very much a raw product, and fellow squad member Len Ikitau is a genuine bolter in the group and unlikely to see much Test gametime in 2020. The 21-year-old wasn’t included in the Brumbies’ matchday squad for the final on Saturday.

Reece Hodge is another option to start at 13 having played there for the Rebels this season, however there will be questions over whether he can make the step up to being a Test-quality outside centre, particularly against the strong All Blacks.