Michael Cheika needs a strong performance from his new-look side. Picture: David Rogers/Getty
Michael Cheika needs a strong performance from his new-look side. Picture: David Rogers/Getty

Cheika’s bizarre backflip as rising star handed debut

TEEN spirit Jordan Petaia has finally won his chance to shine at the Rugby World Cup with a Wallabies' Test debut booked at just 19 to face Uruguay on Saturday in Oita.

It will end a frustrating wait for the Queensland outside back who has had three false starts on his Test debut already.

Injury tripped a chance on last year's tour to Europe, a five-month foot ligament injury meant he wasn't quite right for a chance in Australia before the tournament and a hamstring tweak sustained at training camp in New Caledonia kept him on ice too.

WALLABIES V URUGUAY: SEE THE TEAM BELOW

He missed a certain Test start against Samoa in Sydney with the hamstring problem before the team came away and returned to full training on tour last week.

Finally, the kid that Test great Tim Horan dubbed "the Wallabies future arriving today" is fit and eager for his chance on the wing.

Petaia will be the first Wallaby to make his Test debut at a Rugby World Cup since Berrick Barnes in 2007.

The selection has extra focus because the Wallabies are still without suspended Reece Hodge for the next two games.

Teen sensation Jordan Petaia will make his Wallabies debut. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty
Teen sensation Jordan Petaia will make his Wallabies debut. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty

The match against improving outsiders Uruguay, the physical South Americans who upset Fiji, has given the Wallabies the chance to try some different things.

Matt To'omua has been installed at inside centre in a side with 13 changes to the one which lost to Wales in Tokyo last weekend.

In the halves, the musical chairs continue. Christian Lealiifano and Nic White have been paired again with everything to play for.

Influential performances against Uruguay might well install them as a lock for the rest of the Wallabies' run at the tournament in Japan.

Christian Lealiifano at Wallabies training September 24. Picture: Stu Walmsley/Rugby Australia
Christian Lealiifano at Wallabies training September 24. Picture: Stu Walmsley/Rugby Australia

Saturday will also mark the first-ever time that Australia will wear their indigenous alternate strip at a World Cup, after debuting the popular jersey against New Zealand in Brisbane in 2017.

The Dennis Goulding designed jersey recognises and celebrates the impact and contribution of the 14 indigenous Australians who have played for the Wallabies in Test history.

Wallabies v Uruguay at Oita Stadium, Oita on Saturday, 3.15pm AEST

1. James Slipper (93 Tests)

2. Folau Fainga'a (11 Tests)

3. Allan Alaalatoa (35 Tests)

4. Rob Simmons (98 Tests)

5. Adam Coleman (36 Tests)

6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (18 Tests)

7. Michael Hooper (c) (97 Tests)

8. Jack Dempsey (12 Tests)

9. Nic White (28 Tests)

10. Christian Lealiifano (23 Tests)

11. Jordan Petaia*

12. Matt To'omua (49 Tests)

13. Tevita Kuridrani (60 Tests)

14. Dane Haylett-Petty (35 Tests)

15. Kurtley Beale (89 Tests)

RESERVES

16. Jordan Uelese (6 Tests)

17. Sekope Kepu (108 Tests)

18. Taniela Tupou (16 Tests)

19. Rory Arnold (24 Tests)

20. David Pocock (80 Tests)

21. Will Genia (107 Tests)

22. James O'Connor (50 Tests)

23. Adam Ashley-Cooper (120 Tests)

*denotes uncapped

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News Corp Australia


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