Petaia injured, Reds rotate Super squad

Jordan Petaia could miss six weeks of rugby with a thigh strain, forcing Queensland Reds coach Brad Thorn to shuffle his squad to face the Highlanders.

JORDAN PETAIA
JORDAN PETAIA Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images

Queensland Reds and Wallabies back Jordan Petaia is battling a thigh injury that will likely keeping him out of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman and cruel his chances of facing the French in three Tests later this year.

Petaia left Saturday's final in the second half because of the injury as the Reds beat the Brumbies 19-16 thanks to a dramatic injury-time James O'Connor try.

Still just 21, the winger or centre's Australia rugby rise has been stunted by significant foot, shoulder and hip injuries and Reds coach Brad Thorn admitted on Wednesday he was set for more time on the sidelines.

"He's got a solid strain to his quad or thigh and could be around six weeks," Thorn said.

"It's a bit of a loss for us but these things happen from time to time."

The Reds' final Super Rugby Trans-Tasman round robin game is on June 11, the stand alone final on June 19 and the Wallabies' first Test against the French at the SCG on July 7.

Petaia, Harry Wilson (concussion) and Alex Mafi (concussion) were casualties of the side's grand final win while halfback Tate McDermott has been rested for Friday's Trans-Tasman opener against the Highlanders in Dunedin.

Regular starters Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and Fraser McReight will come off the bench while Suliasi Vunivalu returns from injury off the bench and 19-year-old halfback Kalani Thomas will start against childhood hero Aaron Smith.

Thorn hopes to have Hunter Paisami back for next week's home clash against the Crusaders.

The top two sides of the five-game round robin competition will contest the final, the Reds slated behind all five New Zealand outfits with bookies to win the tournament.

"Look at those odds ... it's our job to change that because we like to think we've got some good stuff going on too," Thorn said.

"We know we won't be highly rated in New Zealand, but that's our bread and butter.

"It's a little bit of extra salt and pepper on the meal but we're just a positive group that wants to get better."

James O'Connor and Liam Wright will share the captaincy after O'Connor had the honour and Wright started on the bench in Saturday's decider.

QUEENSLAND: Bryce Hegarty, Filipo Daugunu, Josh Flook, Hamish Stewart, Jock Campbell, James O'Connor, Kalani Thomas, Seru Uru, Liam Wright, Angus Scott-Young, Ryan Smith, Feao Fotuaika, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Dane Zander. Reserves: Josh Nasser, Harry Hoopert, Taniela Tupou, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Fraser McReight, Moses Sorovi, Isaac Henry, Suliasi Vunivalu.