Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies back teenager Jordan Petaia to shine against England

Jordan Petaia's teammates have no doubt they're witnessing the birth of a Wallabies great at this Rugby World Cup.

The question is whether it's too much to ask a 19-year-old to swiftly rectify some shonky Australian back-line work at the tournament and do it in the pressure-cooker of a quarter-final against England.

Michael Cheika's 11th-hour solution to his team's lack of cohesive attack out wide in Japan was to bypass proven performers such as the demoted James O'Connor, Tevita Kuridrani, Dane Haylett-Petty and Adam Ashley-Cooper, and go all-in on Petaia in his favoured position of outside centre.

The move could backfire badly on Saturday in Oita, or prove a masterstroke.

Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies back teenager Jordan Petaia to shine against England

Veteran halfback Will Genia believes Cheika has got it right to shift Petaia following his first two tests on the wing.

He plans to give the rising Queensland Reds star every opportunity to prove himself.

"I rate Jordan very highly, he's a player who could be one of the best players in the world in the not too distant future," Genia said.

"I've just wanted to make him as comfortable as I can this week so he can be himself genuinely."

Petaia will become the first teenage midfield back to play in a World Cup knockout match.

It will be the latest in series of Wallabies, and World Cup records the two-test rookie has smashed for his age.

None of it comes as any surprise to midfield partner Kerevi, who partnered Petaia in the midfield during the Super Rugby season. 

"I've had thoughts about Jordy since the first day he actually walked into our club at the Reds," Kerevi said.

"I think he just had that rare talent and now he's refining that, becoming the player that he is.

"I'm excited to see how he goes, not just for this weekend but for the rest of his career. From the first time I seen him at training and the way he is, he's going to be one of the greats."

Kerevi says his plan will be to get the ball in the big youngster's hands early to settle any nerves.

He backed Petaia's defence to stand up against an England midfield that features renowned tackle-busting behemoth Manu Tuilagi.

Australia: 1-Scott Sio, 2-Tolu Latu, 3-Allan Alaalatoa, 4-Izack Rodda, 5-Rory Arnold, 6-David Pocock, 7-Michael Hooper (c), 8-Isi Naisarani, 9-Will Genia, 10-Christian Lealiifano, 11-Marika Koroibete, 12-Samu Kerevi, 13-Jordan Petaia, 14-Reece Hodge, 15-Kurtley Beale

Reserves: 16-Jordan Uelese, 17-James Slipper, 18-Taniela Tupou, 19-Adam Coleman 20-Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, 21-Nic White, 22-Matt To'omua, 23-Adam Ashley-Cooper

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 8:15pm Saturday for live updates of for the Australia v England Rugby World Cup quarter-final. 

AAP 

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