Jordan Petaia has been compared to a late All Blacks great following the Reds come from behind 24-22 win over the Brumbies on Saturday.
The 21-year-old stood out in two moments of brilliance in particular, which helped the Reds claim the crucial victory.
Playing in front of the Brisbane crowd, the Brumbies rushed out to a 12-0 lead after just 16-minutes, with Folau Fainga’a and Tom Banks both scoring tries. Fainga’a scored after a driving maul, while Banks read a James O’Connor pass to perfection, intercepting it before running roughly 70 metres to score.
While two James O’Connor penalties helped bring the Reds back to within a converted try of the lead, a long-range Nic White penalty saw the visitors lead 15-6 at the break.
10 minutes into the second half, Reds centre Josh Flook crossed for his first Super Rugby try, with quite an incredible effort. Getting the ball just inside the Brumbies 22, the former Australian Schools and U18 captain bumped off winger Andy Muirhead, before beating two Brumbies defenders to the line with his pace.
With the Brumbies hitting back shortly after through a Tom Wright try, it seemed as if it was getting to now or never territory for the Reds.
In the 63rd minute, with the hosts down 13-22, Jordan Petaia earned a cheer from the Brisbane crowd with a clever heads-up play. After getting the ball from a Noah Lolesio kick, Petaia managed to beat Wright with the boot, as he successfully found the sideline to kick a 50-22.
From the lineout that followed, the Reds set up a driving maul and soon were rewarded with a penalty advantage. Petaia played a part in getting the ball to Filipo Daugunu on the left-wing, before getting the ball himself soon after.
In the fifth phase following the lineout, Petaia went airborne, beating Tom Banks in the air to claim a James O’Connor kick. From there, he managed to get the ball down for the vital score.
While two James O’Connor penalties in the 69th and 76th minutes ultimately handed the hosts the win, it was Jordan Petaia’s heroics that seemed to have spurred the Reds on.
Following the match, coach Brad Thorn mentioned how Petaia and the late Jonah Lomu were similar.
“I just think he’s one of those special guys, they’re just good,” Thorn said.
“There was a move in the All Blacks: pass the ball to Jonah because he’s good…Jordie, if you give a reasonable footy to him, he can beat defenders, or you put a kick up in the air and [there is a] good chance he’ll come down with it.”
Some fans on Twitter have also praised Petaia for his efforts in round eight, while also letting their opinions known on what they believe his position may be.
Yep. Underline that.
— Sam Bruce (@Sambruce86) April 10, 2021
#REDvBRU the moment people start to write off petaia he does something brilliant
— Gabrizelle (@RealAn0n) April 10, 2021
#REDvBRU what a game! O’Connor & Petaia great performance ?
— Agustín_Bacigalupo (@ABLupo) April 10, 2021
Two HUGE bits of play from Petaia! 50 – 22 and then the try. What a game! #REDvBRU
— Abdullah Mahmood (@AbbyDno7) April 10, 2021
No better rivalry either side of the Tasman.
Let them play every week.
PS – think we now know Jordy Petaia’s best position ?#REDvBRU
— Sam Phillips (@samphillips06) April 10, 2021
The Reds have locked in a home Super Rugby AU Grand Final for next month, after extending their undefeated record for this season against the Brumbies. They have a bye in round nine but will finish their regular season away to the Western Force on the 23rd of April.
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now