Reds lose young starlet for rest of Super Rugby season
Cape Town - The Reds have announced that Wallabies
starlet Jordan Petaia will be sidelined for the rest of the Super Rugby
season with a shoulder injury.
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The Brisbane-based outfit confirmed on Wednesday that a shoulder
dislocation Petaia suffered while the team were in Argentina would
require surgery, sidelining him for up to 20 weeks.
That timeline effectively ends his Super Rugby season after just two
games for the second year in a row and puts him in serious doubt for the
Wallabies' July Tests.
Petaia underwent scans on Tuesday after arriving back in Brisbane with his Reds team-mates on Monday night.
Further consultation with surgeons and Reds and Rugby Australia
medics determined he will go under the knife for a full reconstruction
and spend up to 20 weeks on the sidelines in rehabilitation.
It’s another blow for the 19-year-old, who suffered a Lisfrancs
injury to his foot last year, forcing him out of all but the first two
games of the Super Rugby season.
But his dedication to his rehab and enormous talent was rewarded with
a World Cup spot, where he made his Wallabies debut and showed himself
to be a rising star of Australian rugby.
The shoulder injury will all but certainly rule him out of the series
against Ireland in early July and while the rehab timeline roughly
coincides with the Wallabies’ Test against Fiji in Townsville later that
month, it’s likely to be a big ask for a player with just 160 minutes
of rugby behind him this season.
His return is more likely to come sometime during the Rugby
Championship in August and September, although his age and injury
history would suggest a kid glove approach may be more appropriate for
Pataia, whose body has unfortunately let him down on several occasions
in his young career.
While his talent would be a massive boost to the Wallabies’ Rugby
Championship and Bledisloe Cup hopes, he could yet be rested through
until the Spring Tour if he suffers any complications with his recovery.
The news is a massive blow for the Reds, although the emergence of
Hunter Paisami, who stepped into Petaia’s shoes for the match against
the Jaguares and won players’ player honours, is a silver lining.
Petaia’s absence exposes an already rejigged Reds backline to more
changes with the team desperate for stability as they chase a maiden win
this weekend to get their season back on track.