Kuridrani heaps praise on 'world class' Davies

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani heaped praise on his ‘world-class’ centre opponent, Jonathan Davies, as the pair prepare to go toe-to-toe on Saturday.

Kuridrani has never faced off against Davies, with the Welshman missing a number of Tests against Australia with injury, and was most recently a late withdrawal from the 2016 encounter.

Wales will have a new midfield combination against the Wallabies, with Warren Gatland moving away from his super-sized centres of years past, and towards a dual playmaker setup, similar to his structure with the Lions in July.

Davies was a crucial part of that Lions structure, voted man of the series by his teammates, and Kuridrani said he couldn't wait to go up against the experienced centre.

“They always have a big midfield in the Wales team and I think one big challenge this weekend is playing against Davies,” he said.

“I think he’s a very world-class centre, I’ve watched a couple of his games in the Lions series as well.

“He’s just one of those centres that he’s got everything – running, kicking, he’s very skillful.”

Though Wales will be fielding a different kind of combination, Kuridrani said they would be looking as much to the edges to get on top in their super-sized backline, with Marika Koroibete and Henry Speight firing in recent weeks, and in-form Reece Hodge also likely to return to the wing.

“We’ll try and target that area...the 10 and 12 channel,” he said.

“We’ve got a few good guys in the backline as well, so (it’s about) trying to use them as well, like Marika and Henry Speight.

“We try and target the wide channels as well, so we don’t want to just target a particular place, we want to target all over.”

Kuridrani has been a threat on his own when it comes to the Northern Hemisphere, falling just short of a 'Tevita slam' in last year's Grand Slam tour, but he can’t necessarily put his finger on why it was such a happy hunting ground for him.

“Last year, I scored a few tries on the Spring Tour, really close to getting that grand slam of tries,” he said.

“I think whenever I come over to the Northern Hemisphere there’s something special about it but hopefully it continues this year as well.”

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