Sport Wallabies' Petaia eyes fullback switch
Resurgent Wallabies celebrate Bok-to-Bok victories
Australia have recorded their first back-to-back wins against South Africa since 2016 and climbed to third on the world rankings. © Associated Press Len Ikitau is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try during the Rugby Championship test match between the Springboks and the Wallabies. Australia's 30-17 win at Suncorp Stadium came off the back of a dogged defensive display, with the Wallabies making 96 per cent of their tackles against a side known for its physicality. Australian No.
While he's been earmarked as the Wallabies' long-term fullback, Jordan Petaia is set to take advantage of the absence of star Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete.
Workhorse Koroibete will miss the final round of the Rugby Championship on the Gold Coast on Saturday, as the Wallabies aim to secure their fourth successive win with another victory over Argentina.
Australia earned a 27-8 defeat over plucky Argentina in Townsville last Saturday, which came after two wins over world champions South Africa.
Two years out from the World Cup, Wallabies fans can dare to dream
Saturday night's 30-17 win against the Springboks was the performance of a team ready to fire on the game's biggest stage.Just seven days ago, that new reality would have seemed like a wild fantasy for Australian rugby fans.
Koroibete has already flown home to Melbourne to spend time with his young family, which includes a newborn, before Australia's squad departs in late October for its UK tour.
Petaia replaced Koroibete as starting winger in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test after the latter was among a trio of Rebels players ruled out for off-field disciplinary reasons.
But the Queenslander has had limited game time off the bench since.
The 21-year-old said he felt he'd learnt plenty watching Koroibete and fellow Test winger Andrew Kellaway in action.
"Marika's work-rate across the park, it's probably second to none," Petaia said on Tuesday.
"Not many players get across (the field) like him so it's been huge for me watching him work hard, which has been good thinking about my own game."
Hodge looks for consistent Wallabies role
With teammate and good friend Tom Banks injured for the year, Wallabies back Reece Hodge has the opportunity to cement himself as Australia's No.15.Used mainly as a utility for the Wallabies playing five-eighth, centre, wing and fullback since his debut in 2016 - Hodge came on to replace Tom Banks in Saturday's win over South Africa when his good friend suffered an arm fracture.
While happy for any additional game time, Petaia said he wanted to move into the fullback jersey long-term.
There's an outside chance Wallabies coach Dave Rennie could start him there against the Pumas, although Reece Hodge is the more likely option.
"Eventually I'd like to take on at 15 role, whether that happens at the Reds or later this year, I don't know what that looks like," Petaia said.
"Obviously the more positions we can cover the better for the team and it's good for my growth as well."
Petaia's season stalled after a quad injury ruled him out of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition and also the France Test series in July.
He has also suffered a serious foot injury and had a shoulder reconstruction during his young career but Petaia said he was now fighting fit.
"My body is feeling the best it's felt in years," Petaia said.
"I will just keep working hard and making sure that the strength and conditioning team is conditioning me well so I will stick with that program and not get complacent.
"It definitely feels good not to have to worry about all those previous injuries."
Holmes, McMahon set for Wallabies returns .
Sean McMahon and Greg Holmes are set for Test returns after being named on the Wallabies bench for the Rugby Championship match against Argentina.The pair have been named on the bench to face Argentina on the Gold Coast in Saturday's final Rugby Championship round.