Hunt with chance to show versatility

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Reds coach Richard Graham says he is yet to settle on Karmichael Hunt’s best spot.

With the loss of Henry Taefu (ankle) for up to eight weeks, Hunt will move from fullback to inside centre for the match against the Force, pushing Japanese test star Ayumu Goromaru into 15.

In preseason Graham said he believed Hunt’s ideal spot was at fullback but the coming weeks will give the Reds coach a glimpse of the ex-NRL and AFL player in the thick of the action.

It's inside centre where Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has said he would likely consider Hunt at an international level, though that is a thought for further down the track.

“This season give us more of an indication (of his best spot),” he said.

“He’s played  a little bit of 12, a little bit of 13, a bit of  15. He’s played everywhere.

“Each week he’s just getting better because he’s learning the game.

“He’s a footballer but the instinctive nature, he's getting better at that.”

Hunt’s frame, he has added some five kilograms in recent times, has also accelerated his improvement in the 15-man game, Graham said.

With an accurate kicker like Goromaru in their side and a strong set piece, the Reds could have more opportunity to look to play for field position against the Force, though it might not please spectators.

Graham said he wasn’t preoccupied with making a game spectator-friendly.

“Probably the most attractive style is just winning,” he said.

“For us we’ve certainly got that ability to play that way (for field position).

“As we try and develop our game and we’re learning the way we want to play, where we want to play on the field that’ll become more evident.”

Samu Kerevi will be playing outside Hunt on Saturday and said he was looking forward to reuniting with the 29-year-old after combining in the centres at the back end of 2015.

“He takes the ball to the line which I like and he can play and he’s got a lot of communication skills,” he said.

“For me it makes my job easier at outside that our 10, 12 are communicating more and I just  help out the back three and together we just play well hopefully.”

Kerevi said Goromaru was becoming more comfortable in the side, cracking jokes in training despite the language barrier between the Japanese Test star and his new teammates.

“He’s opening up to us making jokes as we train,’ he said.

“The first couple of weeks he was here he was really shy but he’s a really skilful player, so he sees the game really well,” he said.