Wallabies’ World Cup bolter Jordan Petaia says it’s incredible how meteoric his rise to international rugby has been.
The 19-year-old midfielder was included in Michael Cheika's 31-man squad that was unveiled today.
“I probably wasn’t thinking about that two years ago back in school, it’s incredible how fast it has come,” he said.
“The support of my family has been incredible.”
Petaia’s selection was based on raw attacking potential.
The teenager suffered a serious foot injury in early March and has won selection on the back of recent club performances.
He initially dreamt of being a professional footballer but switched focus to rugby in his final year of high school.
Petaia enjoyed a fine rookie season in Super Rugby for the Reds before injury denied him a Test cap against Italy on last year's spring tour.
"I had to work a lot harder with the rehab, stay strong, not give in and keep working just to hopefully get here," Petaia said.
"As I progressed I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel."
Twelve of the squad were involved in the 2015 campaign, when Cheika defied the odds by overseeing a trip to the Twickenham final, won by the All Blacks. Seven of those players were also at the 2011 tournament.
A born-again James O'Connor attended 2011 but missed 2015.
O'Connor is among a raft of midfield backs named by Cheika. Nine of his squad have started a Test at inside or outside centre, and Petaia is poised to become the 10th.