Raiwalui building rapport before June: Kepu

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

New Wallabies forwards coach Simon Raiwalui is moving quickly to establish relationships with Test players, as June approaches.

Wallabies players and staff met up earlier this month in Queensland, where players had a chance to meet Raiwalui, who recently arrived from France.

Raiwalui was also watching on at Waratahs training last week, chatting to some players and coaches, as he prepares to begin his new role in earnest come June. 

Waratahs and Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu said Raiwalui had kept in touch with the players since meeting them, giving them gentle reminders of their goals.

"The camp up in Sanctuary Cove there, you touch base, introduce yourself and whatnot and he just texted a few of the boys reminding of the things we spoke about up there and encouraging us to push ourselves to be the best we can be in our team environments," he said.

Simon Raiwalui has arrived in Australia. Photo: Getty Images"That can only be better for the team that we're in here and moving forward."

Wallabies assistant coaches have been rotating through the Super Rugby franchises this season, watching on and helping out at training sessions, something Kepu said was a positive thing, with a short lead-in to June.

"It's quite exciting, you have that sitting there, they don't want to chime in too much into Super Ruby but the guys here have been fantastic," he said.

"The work they've done together has been awesome - between Wallabies and Waratahs."

Kepu has been in strong form for the Waratahs in recent weeks, as the June Series nears, but there will be plenty of competition for the tight head spot, with Queensland's Taniela Tupou staking his claim.

The Australian Super Rugby teams play their final matches on the weekend of June 1-3, joining camp less than a week before the first Test against Ireland, on June 9 in Brisbane.

All the matches have been selling well, with only a few hundred tickets left for the Sydney Test. 

The Wallabies-Ireland June Series kicks off on Saturday June 9 in Brisbane, at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.