Paia-aua shines in Wallabies debut
Rockhampton local, Duncan Paia-aua made his debut on Saturday in the Wallabies v Barbarians game at Sydney's Allianz Stadium.
The 22-year-old scored two tries, with the first try in the eighth minute after a five-metre scrum, starting off a very close match against the Wallabies and the Barbarians.
The Wallabies ultimately edged out from behind after the first half, winning the game with a 31-28 lead.
The shy Reds rookie has been pegged by his Queensland Reds mentor and the Barbarians captain, Quade Cooper, as some capable of making things happen on the field.
Despite his lack of confidence when joining the Reds, Paia-aua quickly earned a reputation for his strength, athleticism, courage, and his huge heart.
He has also improved on his speed, which has saw him manoeuvre around the Barbarians' advances on Saturday.
"I always call him the slowest back - he used to be the slowest back in the Reds for the last few years but then I don't know where he's found this pace that he's all of a sudden got this year,” Cooper said of his Reds team-mate.
The five-eighth may have proven himself capable of being a constant fixture in the Wallabies' back row, holding his own amongst some of his older team mates in the weekend match.
Paia-aua's successful debut may be enough to land him a place on the Wallabies' spring tour.
Growing up in Rockhampton, he played rugby in high school and represented Queensland twice at Under 16 level.
Originally playing rugby league for two seasons in the National Youth Competition for the Brisbane Broncos Under 20s side, he switched the union and signed with the Reds for two years in 2015.
After developing his knowledge of rugby union, the 'fearless' Paia-aua is quickly making a name for himself in the rugby union world as one to be wary of going up against.