Kerevi reveals sledge which triggered Tui melee

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Samu Kerevi has revealed the sledge which triggered the ugly altercation between Lukhan Tui and an irate fan after the Wallabies' loss to Argentina.

Kerevi was in the crowd watching the angry fan hurl abuse and was part of the group of people who pulled his Reds teammate and the man apart.

The injured Wallabies star took to Instagram on Sunday to share his side of the story.

"Lukhan came in to help out because that guy was swearing around his family," Kerevi wrote.

"That altercation only happened because the drunk fan told Lukhan to 'play with some heart'.

"The fact that he was even on the field speaks volumes.

"So for everyone throwing chat at my boy... Shut your mouth!

"Know your facts before you start judging."

Kerevi's defence comes as Wallabies coach Michael Cheika revealed on Sunday a grieving Tui is "unlikely" to be on Australia's flight to South Africa on Saturday.

The 21-year-old's stepfather passed away on Wednesday and the Wallabies wore black armbands in remembrance.

Emotions were raw to begin with but ugly scenes ensued when the fan - who had been abusing other Wallabies players in the minutes prior - fronted Tui as he was speaking with family. Tui's distressed sister was knocked over in the melee.

The Wallabies spent an extended amount of time in the change rooms in the aftermath and it was then revealed by Cheika that Tui had told the team he intended to take the remainder of the year off.

On Sunday Cheika confirmed the flanker was an unlikely starter in Port Elizabeth.

"I’d say it’s unlikely yeah based on what we spoke about last night," Cheika said.

"He’s had a big week, a pretty big week in someone’s life and this happens.

"Whatever post match isn’t in the forefront of his mind right now.

"His step-father has just passed away and I think that’s a time where he needs to just be with his family and be together."

With or without Tui the Wallabies find themselves in quite the predicament moving forward.

They will spend the next week back at their home bases before flying to South Africa to face a Springboks side brimming with confidence.

An Argentinian outfit similarly chuffed with their Rugby Championship showings to date awaits the following Saturday.

A trip to Japan to face the All Blacks in the third Bledisloe marks the final Test before embarking on the Spring Tour.

The Australians are unlikely to start favourites in any of those three Tests but Cheika is taking confidence from the fact his side has, in the past, improved in the TRC as it goes on.

"I think it just comes from being together longer and that’s the way the calendar works out," Cheika said.

"You start playing more together, building the combinations, getting all those things happening and that gets later in the season. We’ve got to play better from day one.

"There’s no June series next year, everything happens at the end of Super Rugby so that same situation won’t occur next year.

"Now we’ve got this back half of the year.

"It’s still six away games and we’ve got to make the most of every one."

Delivering devout Australian fans wins in those three matches is the only way to ensure they keep the faith.

Cheika knows that and said actions on field were all that mattered in the next six weeks.

"You can't be talking about it, you've got to show," he said.

"You can't be talking about keeping the faith.

"There are a lot of supporters out there who are behind you no matter what but you have to be mindful of them as well.

"You have to show on the field not talk off the field."