Weight lifted off Kerevi

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Samu Kerevi has released the pressure valve on himself and it paid off big time for the Wallabies centre in Japan.

Kerevi has had a tough year, battling injuries and then struggling to regain his fitness, kept on the fringes of the Wallabies’ team for much of the season.

The 23-year-old has dropped three kilos since the start of the year, and though that isn’t much in absolute terms, he has turned that extra weight into muscle.

Kerevi dominated in Japan, crashing over the top of the Japanese backs in his first 80-minute effort in a Test this year, impressing coach Michael Cheika though it doesn't look like enough for him to retain a starting spot.

His future is an intriguing one, having played some of his best rugby at provincial and Test level at 12, but ostensibly competing for a 13 spot with Tevita Kuridrani, with the latter having all but sewn that position up with his defence for the time being.

The Reds back certainly put himself back on the radar with an impressive outing against Japan, capped off by his second career double.

Kerevi put his star turn down to a chat with Will Genia earlier this week, that took the anxiety off his shoulders, on top of the weight he has shed.

“I felt good out there, (I'm) just getting my body right,” he said.

“When I wasn't playing as much it was important for me getting my match fitness back, and bringing down my weight.

“I talked to Willy G during the week and for him when I got named he was telling me to back myself and enjoy the footy.

“That's what I've missed in the last couple of weeks and I think I was putting so much pressure on myself, I had to just get out there and enjoy it.”

Kerevi is comfortable at 12, but said he wasn’t worried where he fit in in the Wallabies' long-term plans.

“Obviously i debuted at 12 and it helped my game to understand what 13 needs defensively and in attack, what the playmakers need,” he said.

“(Against Japan) I just wanted to do my job and that was run over people, so both me and Tevita wanted to do that to really get the boys going over the (advantage) line and create quick ball for the whole back line, because we've got spark out wide and with the forwards going through,” he said.

Samu Kerevi is fitter than he has been all year. Photo: Getty Images“For me, it's wherever I get put, I want to benefit for the team, I want to put my best foot forward so the team can be successful.”

Whether he will have another starting crack in this tour remains to be seen, with Karmichael Hunt expected to be fit to play Wales, likely slotting in at fullback and pushing Kurtley Beale into 12

Wales will be a much stiffer opposition, size-wise, than Japan and Kerevi said the Wallabies would need to step up in Cardiff.

"They've got a big backline and a strong forward pack. all the Northern Hemispheres have that physicality they bring in set piece and in game play,” he said.

“For us, each week for us defence is going to be key making sure we get through that and our attack will just click together with whatever combination we have.”

Australia plays Wales in Cardiff on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 4:15am Sunday AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.