Kepu signs with ARU and Waratahs until 2019

Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Sekope Kepu will return home for good when he joins the Wallabies next week, having signed with the Australian Rugby Union and NSW Waratahs until the end of 2019.

The return of Kepu to Australia is a huge boost for the Wallabies and Waratahs hopes after he signed a three-year deal with Bordeaux last year.

Bordeaux announced overnight his immediate release citing family as the reason why he is coming home after just one season of a three-season contract.

Kepu will return to the Wallabies squad immediately as preparation continues for the Australia’s opening Test against England next Saturday.

"I really enjoyed my time in France, while experiencing a new rugby culture with my family," Kepu said.

"The opportunity to come home and reconnect with the Wallabies and play Super Rugby is an honour for me, and I am looking forward to joining the boys and working hard to earn a spot in the team against England during the series."

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika included Kepu in his 39-man squad last Thursday under the ‘Giteau Law’ despite not playing for Bordeaux in recent weeks due to injury.

"He’s not been playing for Bordeaux, he's been out for the last few weeks," he said.

"I think shoulder (kept him out) but we’ve been across that. It Iooks okay but of course, we’ll have to check it out."

Kepu has been one of the Wallabies most reliable in recent seasons playing in every match during the 2015 Rugby World Cup and will be welcomed addition to squad.

Cheika sees Kepu's recent stint in France as a learning curve for the veteran who has had to adapt to a new scrummaging technique.

I’d say at the start it was a bit difficult for him, a total change in technique," he said.

"What I like is he got the handle on it, he got the hang of it pretty quickly.

"That adaptation of that style is something Sekope hasn’t maybe had before.

"He’s learned to do that because he's a more mature person and a more mature player and understands what he needs to do to do well."

Kepu's return will be a welcome one for the Waratahs, set to bolster their improving scrum and provide guidance to young props Paddy Ryan and Tom Robertson.