Kerevi's rise to Super Rugby stardom

Before Samu Kerevi was one of the most explosive centres in world rugby, he spent his Saturdays packing down in the second row alongside Curtis Browning.

The softly spoken 23-year-old spent his teenage years as a forward pack talent and was picked in the second row for Brisbane State High’s 2010 1st XV when he was in Grade 11.

A pair of poor performances saw Kerevi dropped to the 2nd XV, where coach Michael Grice - now the Australian U20s manager - proposed the radical idea of shifting to outside centre.

The Fijian-born talent never looked back.

His attacking arsenal has now developed to a point where he is undoubtedly one of the hardest players to defend in Super Rugby.Samu Kerevi is in career best form. Photo: WalmsleyA propensity to break tackles has always been there but Kerevi now runs smarter lines and uses his footwork in a fashion which leads him to more line breaks than ever before.

Couple that with an improved ability to read attacking patterns whilst defending and you have the all-round package that still has so much time to grow.

Kerevi truly is one of the nicest guys you’re likely to meet in rugby and that’s a credit to an upbringing that he cherishes.

“My parents were really supportive - my whole family was,” Kerevi said.

“My grandparents that raised me, they are 100 percent behind me throughout the whole way and they didn’t force me into anything.

“They supported me when I went to Fiji to chase the 20s team there and having them was really important - they got me to where I am today.”Kerevi and the Reds have been starved of success in 2017. Photo: Getty ImagesKerevi took a winding path to a Super Rugby debut after earning Queensland Schoolboys honours in his final year at State High.

Fresh out of school, he packed his bags and headed to Fiji to push for an U20s berth - a journey that helped mould his approach to the game.

“I learned a lot from being in Fiji for those six or seven months.

“The trials are usually in March and April but I went there in January because I wanted to be there from the start.

“I wanted to play club footy in Fiji and it taught me a lot of things - it taught me the humility of rugby

“It’s real humbling to see the boys play rugby there - it truly is for the love of the game.Kerevi has come a long way since he first burst onto the Super Rugby scene. Photo: Getty Images“We didn’t have the best kit but when we did get our kit the boys would cherish it.

“We would get boots and that would be the pair of boots the boys would use for ages.

“It was a real eye opener to not complain about the opportunities that I get in Brisbane.”

A move to Norths to play club rugby was on the cards when he returned to Brisbane but one of Kerevi’s uncles convinced him Shane Arnold’s GPS side was the optimal route to success.

That was where Kerevi caught the eye of the brains trust at Ballymore.

His combination with Sam Johnson in the centres flourished and subsequently dragged the Gallopers to the 2014 Queensland Premier Rugby final.

After making his Super Rugby debut at the back end of 2014 against the Highlanders, his run on debut against the Force in Perth was extraordinary.Kerevi has become a prominent part of Michael Cheika's Wallaby plans. Photo: Getty ImagesThe Fijian notched a rare rugby triple double - hitting double figures in metres gained, line breaks and tackle busts en route to a man of the match performance.

“It wasn’t about making a mark for me, it was about playing my game,” Kerevi said.

“I just wanted to have a go - I didn’t go there to make this many line breaks or this many tackles - I just wanted to play well so I could be sure that I was meant to be here.”

That catapulted Kerevi into one man demolition derby status and he has carried the Reds through a bleak 2015 and 2016.

Those bleak performances are yet to turn around in 2017 but that is not through any fault of his.

He now carries more of an attacking burden than ever before but relishes that challenge.

He is Super Rugby’s tackle bust leader and form centre and that is no surprise when you listen to the way he speaks about crafting his game.

“We don’t play footy for a long time so I can’t just go through the motions in the way that I play,” he said.

“I just take it day by day and session by session so I can get better.

“I do that every day so when it gets down to that moment where all eyes are on me, I make the most of it rather than just drifting along.”