Holiday spurs Kuridrani back to best rugby

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A change is often said to be as good as a holiday but for Tevita Kuridrani a rare holiday might have been exactly what he needed to spark a return to some of his best rugby.

A pectoral injury forced Kuridrani out of Test contention in the back half of 2018 but it gave him the chance to spread his wings and the 27-year-old made the most of it.

Kuridrani openly admits he wasn’t staying up to watch the Wallabies’ Spring Tour, instead using his rare time to travel the world.

“After I knew I wasn’t going on Spring Tour I used my time off, travelled and got away from rugby,” he told RUGBY.com.au ahead of the Super Rugby season.

“It refreshed my mind and I think that really helped me coming back into preseason.”

Tevita Kuridani hasn't missed a beat in his return to Super Rugby. Photo: Getty imagesA trip to Israel was one that really resonated with him, as a devout Christian, a reminder for the bullocking centre of his place in the world outside of rugby.

“I’m of a Christian background so going to Jerusalem was definitely the highlight,” he said.

“It was really interesting to go there and visit all the places written about in the Bible.

“I think that really helped a lot just trying to get my mind away from rugby and refresh.”

The opportunity to travel is one he hasn’t had much of since making his Test debut in 2013 and indeed the 2019 preseason was his first December start in close to six years.

“I  think the last time I had a full preseason was 2012 or 2013 and it’s really helped me this preseason,” he said.

“I’ve dropped a few kilos and feeling a bit fitter and a bit faster, which is good.”

That is clearly paying off for the 58-Test 13 who looks to be back in some of his career-best form after just two matches this year.

A double against the Chiefs was the icing on the cake for the trimmed-down Kuridrani, who has rediscovered some killer pace to go with his nose for the try line and leads the Super Rugby competition in clean breaks.

It’s a timely return to form for Kuridrani who has had mixed fortunes in Test colours in the past two seasons with Samu Kerevi jostling for the outside centre position.

The pair are long-time friends but Kuridrani said he wasn’t preoccupied with World Cup squad competition but a ticket to Japan is in the back of his mind.

“That’s the long-term goal but for me now, I’m just focused on just making sure I come back and play well for the Brumbies."

The Brumbies take on the Hurricanes on Friday March 1, kicking off at 5:35pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO.