Earmarked for greatness as a teen, Jordan Petaia (PEAR-tayah) is the first 21st century millennial to be selected in a Wallaby squad.
A prodigiously talented, imposing three-quarter with a preference for the No.13 jersey, Petaia has made headlines with his speed, physicality, skill and stinging defence.
Born in Werribee, Victoria but raised in Brisbane, Petaia only started playing rugby in 2013. A stellar 2017 Queensland and Australian Schoolboy campaign was the stepping-stone to his near-meteoric rise twelve months later. In February, a month before he had made his Premier Rugby debut for Wests, Petaia was ‘so impressive’ in Queensland's internal, pre-season trial that Queensland coach Brad Thorn added him to the Reds’ Super Rugby squad. Petaia then made history in round eight against the Brumbies in Canberra when, at 18 years and 24 days, he became the youngest Queensland Super Rugby player of all-time. In May, Petaia achieved his goal for the year, to play in the U20s World Cup, and by July was named as the Reds Rookie of the Year.
National coach Michael Cheika was typically succinct and even somewhat understated when asked his view of Petaia following the teen’s selection in the Rugby Championship squad: "He looks very good.” So good was Petaia that he went on to win selection on the Wallaby Spring Tour and looked set to become the third youngest Test capped Wallaby of all-time before hamstring soreness forced him to withdraw at the eleventh hour from the side to play Italy. Petaia started the 2019 Super Rugby season in red-hot form before he ruptured the Lisfranc ligament in his left foot against the Crusaders in round three. The injury saw him ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, however Petaia returned to earn a berth to his first Rugby World Cup and went on to make his Test debut, against Uruguay in Oita.
Unfortunately, a frustrating run of injuries - a dislocated left shoulder, a thigh / quad strain, numerous hamstring strains and concussion protocols - have kept him sidelined for 12 of the 34 Tests played by the Wallabies over the past three years. In addition, Petaia has finished just three matches from his 14 run-on Test appearances.
2017 Represented Australian Schools against New Zealand Schools and Fijian Schools.
2018 Represented Australia at the IRB U20s World Cup in France.
2019 Petaia won his first Test cap on the left wing in the 45-10 pool match victory over Uruguay. In that match he became the 96th Wallaby to score a try on debut. Petaia was also capped on the right wing against Georgia and at outside centre in the quarter final loss to England.
2020 In the COVID-reduced season, Petaia earned five Test caps, four as the starting outside centre.
2021 He missed the home series against France but returned to be capped in eight of the year’s next nine Tests before a minor hamstring strain ruled him out of the final two Spring Tour internationals. Three of his eight starts came in the run-on XV - right wing vs. both New Zealand in Auckland and Argentina on the Gold Coast, and left wing vs. Scotland.
2022 2022 was a stop-start season for Petaia. He picked up a career high nine caps from the 14 Tests however his longest streak in the match day squad was just three - vs. Italy, Ireland and Wales.