Kuridrani flourishing as leader of Fijian flyers

International
by Sam Phillips

Tevita Kuridrani was the first dash of Fijian flavour that now dominates the Wallabies' outside back stocks and as a proud Fijian, he cherishes that.

His 2013 Wallabies debut was followed by Henry Speight's in 2014, Sefa Naivalu's in 2016 and Eto Nabuli's against Scotland on Saturday.

Add Samu Kerevi's debut last year and Marika Koroibete's pending presence and you have the core of Australia's finishers, all hailing from small towns in the rugby-mad island nation.

"When it comes to training, everyone does their own role and their own job but off the field we're all tight," Kuridrani said of the Fijian family in the Wallabies setup.

"We all hang around each other off field so we're happy when someone gets the start.Eto Nabuli is the latest Fijian-born outside back to make his Wallabies debut. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"It started off only being one - it was just me - but then one by one the boys started to come in and now there is five of us.

"That's really good and especially for the Fijian community."

Kuridrani pieced together an industrious performance against Scotland.

There wasn't much flair to his runs but he consistently crashed over the advantage line from the Australian set piece and that's the role Michael Cheika has carved out for him.

"That's what the coaches want me to do - they want me to get front foot ball, especially in that first phase," Kuridrani said.Kuridrani racked up five tackle busts and four line breaks from 17 touches on Saturday. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"That allows us to get quick ball and release it to the backs - that's my role.

"We need to execute our set piece properly because there were some opportunities there that we didn't take.

"Our execution wasn't there and that's what really hurt us at the end of the game.

"Scotland did really well to take their opportunities and that's what we need to."


Kuridrani is a proud Brisbane boy and can't wait to get back out on Suncorp Stadium a large pack of family and friends.

"It's always good to be back here in Brisbane," he said.

"I started here and still have heaps of family back here.

"Playing in front of your family is always an honour and especially this weekend, hope we get the result."

The Wallabies take on Italy in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon, kicking off at 3pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and on RADIO at RUGBY.com.au.

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