Kerevi in starting frame for Wales clash

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Samu Kerevi looks set to start at inside centre for the second week in a row, when the Wallabies take on Wales.

With Karmichael Hunt likely to return from a neck injury, it initially seemed that Kurtley Beale would slip back into 12, after filling the fullback spot.

However, as the week as gone on, Kerevi has begun to shape as a potential starter, in the frame to continue his partnership with Tevita Kuridrani.

The duo dominated Japan last week, in their first start together since the 2016 June Series, scoring five tries between them.

Kuridrani, who had a hat-trick in Yokohama, said he was keen to reignite that partnership in the future.Tevita Kuridrani enjoyed his day out against Wales. Photo: Getty Images“To see how he has developed into an international player, it was very great to play alongside him and hopefully we can get more games together and get the combination,” he said. 

Kerevi’s attacking abilities have never been an issue, but a question mark often hangs over his defence, playing in that front line, especially at 13, something Kurirdani said the pair had been working hard on improving.

“It’s just defensively, we’ve been working really hard on that, just me making sure that he’s alright,” he said.

“If he needs anything in defence, that’s one area we’ve been working really hard on.

“For Samu, he’s very dangerous in attack and we’re trying to work on that as well to be a threat in the midfield.”

Australia will face off against a different-looking Wales midfield, with veteran Jamie Roberts left out of the squad for the end-of-year Tests.

Jonathan Davies will likely be at 13, with Gloucester’s Owen Williams inside him in a shift away from the ball-crashing midfield Wales have favoured under Warren Gatland.

Kuridrani said the possibility of facing a new-look midfield wouldn’t change the equation on Saturday much.

“Not really, I’m expecting the same thing, just direct, physical, (they’ll) try and match us up in the front line,” he said.

“That’s what I’ll be expecting from them, all the Northern Hemisphere teams are big and play direct rugby and physical so we’ll be expecting that this weekend.”

Will Genia sat out training on Tuesday afternoon, but is expected to take his place in the starting lineup when the team is named on Thursday afternoon in Cardiff.

Flanker Justin Tipuric and halfback Rhys Webb are under injury clouds in the Wales camp.

Australia take on Wales on Saturday November 11, kicking off at 5:15pm local, Sunday 4:15am AEDT, LIVE on beIn Sport and SBS.