Kerevi catching up to Kuridrani

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani will play together for the first time on Saturday night, but their pairing has been a long time coming.

The Wallabies’ newest centre combination , with a total weight of 208kg, grew up together in Brisbane, attending church and playing backward footy together.

Kerevi was always the youngest of the group, looking up to Kuridrani, current Western Force player Junior Rasolea and Crusaders winger Nemani Nadolo  as they paved their way into Super Rugby careers.

“When I first started playing Super Rugby I was chasing Junior Rasolea because we all grew up together,”he said.

“He was the first Super Rugby player that made it out of the Brisbane Fiji community. And then my focus turned to Tevita, as soon as he made the Wallabies and sevens and that.”

Tevita Kuridrani was a rolemodel for Samu Kerevi. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyKuridrani has long been one that Kerevi has used as a yardstick for his rugby.

“I’ve been chasing Tevita for a long time , trying to be as good as him and try and get better,”he said.

“We were just talking about it in the gym and laughing about it - the first time we’ll actually play together will be the wallabies, so it’s exciting but we know we’ve got to do  a job and we’ll be out there representing Fijian family back home.”

The 22-year-old was sitting alongside Kuridrani when Cheika read out his name, a moment he still couldn’t quite comprehend hours after.

"I was kind of sitting there and he started talking and named the team...I was sitting next to Tevita and the boys,” he said.

“He  was naming the forwards and the backs and he got to the centres and he said my name and I was just like ‘nah, surely he’s got that wrong’ but he kept going and the boys started shaking my hand and I was still like ‘ nah surely not’."

Their journey will come almost full circle, uniting at Suncorp Stadium, adding another special flavour to his debut.

“To play at Suncorp Stadium where I’m used to playing and having family and friends in front of me, that’s going to be the most exciting part," he said.

“I know a lot of cuzzies will want to come now they know I’m playing because we didn’t know whether we were playing or not.”

Samu Kerevi is ready to physically impose himself. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyNow that the pair are playing together in a Test, Kerevi knows they have to deliver on an expectation of physicality.

“Cheik brought us in for our physicality and that’s why myself and (Tevita) are playing there,” he said.

"He just wants us to be physical and run hard."