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Centres of attention to clash at Suncorp

A confident Queensland hope to end the Crusaders' 17-game Super Rugby winning streak when they meet in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Centres of attention to clash at Suncorp

A confident Queensland hope to end the Crusaders' 17-game Super Rugby winning streak when they meet in Brisbane on Saturday night.

Coach SCOTT ROBERTSON looks on during a Crusaders Super Rugby training session at Rugby Park in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Coach SCOTT ROBERTSON looks on during a Crusaders Super Rugby training session at Rugby Park in Christchurch, New Zealand. Picture:Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

The battle between a yoga-loving, mullet-wearing Crusader and Ballymore's new "wonderkid" will take centre stage when Queensland host the two-time defending Super Rugby champions on Saturday.

Jordan Petaia's performance as an 18-year-old in the centres was the talking point of the Reds' tight loss to the Highlanders last weekend.


But he will meet his match in opposing No.13 Jack Goodhue, who at 23 has already established himself as one of the world's best outside centres.

Petaia's explosive showing wasn't missed by the Crusaders, who are wary of a young Reds outfit despite riding an historic 17-game winning streak into town this week.

"Just exceptional; he looks a pretty special player, extremely powerful and a great athlete," Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said.

"Just the game breakers (like Petaia) and balance of having a tough forward pack ... there's a little bit of hype around them, which is a great thing for the Reds and Super Rugby."

Reds captain and fellow centre Samu Kerevi said his understudy had taken the attention in his stride.

"The hype's with him; the wonderkid we're calling him around here and he hates it," the Wallabies talent said.

"He's a really humble kid, with a lovely family that supports him."

The Crusaders will rest a host of All Blacks as they prepare for the World Cup, but still boast eight in their starting side.

Goodhue is among them and will attempt to put the breaks on the Reds' pin-up boy.

"It'll be an exciting match-up between those two," Crusaders captain Matt Todd said.

"He's running that really interesting mullet haircut, into his yoga and that sort of stuff.

"He's (Jack) a special man, very lively, sort of never a dull moment with him and plenty of energy."

Queensland haven't beaten the Christchurch outfit since the 2011 decider but come armed with a powerful scrum, settled back line and knowledge of a coach who has won a title with the enemy.

"There's a connection there and a lot of admiration for him," Robertson, a former teammate of Brad Thorn's at the Crusaders, said.

"You coach like you played and players ... love his contact, physical side of the game and it looks like he's got a really balanced squad now."

AAP


AAP




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