Fired up Kuridrani finds the finish line

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Tevita Kuridrani is starting to make a habit of miracle tries, with another at Stade de France on Saturday night sealing Australia’s 25-23 victory.

Kuridrani flew to the corner, putting the ball down just inside touch before he hit the ground himself.

Debutant Kyle Godwin was in awe of Kuridrani’s near-impossible finish, that was awarded by the narrowest of margins.

“It was unbelievable. I think he’s been watching too much league. Great acrobats there by the big man,” he said.

Cheika also felt he was watching the 13-man game for a brief moment as Kuridrani defied physics to cross.

“I think we all thought we were watching NRL for a moment when he went in with his whole body over the sideline,” he said.

“NRL wingers they’re professional at it now and we had a bit of a laugh.

Kuridrani’s spectacular try was the culmination of another solid game for him, trying to stake his claim on the 13 jersey after an injury to Samu Kerevi in the final Bledisloe Test.

Competition is what Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been after all year and he said post-match Kuridrani’s form was a direct result of that.

Tevita Kuridrani breaking a French tackle. Photo:Getty ImagesThe 25-year-old lost his spot to old friend Samu Kerevi earlier this year and Cheika said he’d unearthed an inner beast on the way back to the starting team.

“Samu Kerevi’s come up and taken his place and he wants to get it back,” he said..

“He’s found his enthusiasm now the opportunity has come here. I think he’s enjoying his rugby, he’s getting a bit angrier before the games and he’s enjoying his footy.”

It was the second week in a row that Kuridrani pinched a match-turning try, after a centimetre-perfect effort stole a win against Scotland.

That will all be left behind as the Wallabies look towards Ireland this weekend, resuming their Grand Slam bid in Dublin.

Cheika said this week would be a pivotal one, after the Wallabies struggled to back up from their opening win against Wales when they faced Scotland a fortnight ago.

Despite an undefeated start to their Spring Tour, Cheika said they wouldn't be gaining any false confidence from that streak, heading to Ireland.

“The scorecard (3-0) that you mentioned there doesn’t matter,” he said.

“It resets to zero tomorrow for both teams that will be playing this week, we’re going to have a different type of week because our squad is going to be split.

“I’m banking on us learning from the Wales week to the Scotland perhaps not resetting to zero like we should have. - Michael Cheika

“Our preparation next week has to be excellent. The Irish Test will be the biggest test we encounter here.

“We’ve just got to keep looking forward.

“You can’t change your tune because you’ve had a few wins and you’re at the front of the bus now.

“You’ve got to keep saying that’s not relevant, let’s take what we can from the game, reset to zero and prepare the best we possibly can for the Irish game and then see what happens.”

Part of the Wallabies squad will fly to Dublin this weekend, with a yet to be named squad heading to Bordeaux to face a French Barbarians team on Thursday.