Kuridrani and Koroibete share attacking bond

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Tevita Kuridrani has turned to his native tongue to help accelerate the growth of fellow Fijian Marika Koroibete.

The 52-Test centre has been a fixture in the Wallabies backline since the defensive horror show in the first half of the Sydney Bledisloe and it’s no coincidence the team’s defence has been on the up ever since.

The improved defensive work was on show for all to see in Bloemfontein, as the Australians took a 13-10 lead into the break having had just 33 percent of the ball.

There were four goal line stands throughout the 80 minutes and Kuridrani, along with Koroibete, were crucial parts of that.

They made several tackles when the South Africans threatened to break the game open and Kuridrani told RUGBY.com.au that all came down to communication between the pair.

Marika Koroibete showed his finishing abilities in Bloemfontein. Photo: Getty Images“I was really happy for Marika - he really did well for his first Test,” Kuridrani said.

“We wanted to help each other and it turned out really good.

“It’s a pretty hard position to defend so it’s really important that as the 13, I communicate with him.

“We talk Fijian, which makes it easier for him.

“He’s still just gaining in confidence in setting up so when I need to tell him where to be or what to do it helps him.”

One noticeable improvement in the Wallabies’ defensive shape is the improved accuracy in reads out wide.

Both Kuridrani and Koroibete rushed several Springbok movements to cut the supply of the ball at the last possible chance, saving plenty of points in the process.

That is the sign of a team backing both their own judgement and their teammates, as any half second hesitation puts the opposition away.

“We’ve been working hard on that, trusting each other and it doesn’t have to be man on to go up and make a tackle,” Kuridrani said.

“Sometimes you need to rush out and shut it down because that is what is going to help us as a team, stopping the ball from getting out wide and allowing teams to open us up.”

Where Kuridrani takes a role as a leader of the team’s defence, he plays an understated hand in attack.

It’s lines like the one he ran in the set piece play for Israel Folau’s try that add the most value to the attack.

Kuridrani drew two Springbok defenders while running an unders line off Bernard Foley, opening up the necessary space for Folau to slice through and score.

“It’s important that I am always running a good line or trying to have a good carry so we can open up space for the boys out wide,” Kuridrani said.

“When we have Izzy and Marika and Speight with their speed, I am just trying to get defenders on me to open the space for them.

“Having Bernard Foley and Kurtley Beale working together, two playmakers, all we have to do is get the ball from them and run on and we know we are going to score points.”

The Wallabies face the Pumas in Mendoza on Sunday morning, kicking off at 9:40am AEDT, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS.