TEAM NEWS: Accountability is the key for Waratahs against Reds "danger man" Samu Kerevi

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

How do you solve a problem like Samu Kerevi?

It's all about accountability, says Waratahs centre Karmichael Hunt.

Hunt spent three seasons playing alongside Kerevi in Queensland and watched him develop from a rookie centre into the Reds' skipper, most valuable player and undeniable "danger man" for opponents.

The 32-year-old said Kerevi's run of form was no surprise but the leadership role had taken his game to another level.

"(His form) doesn't surprise me," Hunt said.

"Outstanding - obviously a really physical player and though to bring down.

"I think I just saw the stats sheet this morning, I think he's averaging like 22 carries or something like that.

"I think Brycey's (Hegarty) probably got one of the easiest jobs in the world, he just gets the ball to Samu and lets him do the rest.

"Having known Samu for the last 5-6 years and the amount of work he puts in week-in, week-out - and the way he's led his boys this year has been a pleasant surprise - he's definitely a danger man for us. As he is for every other opposition that goes up against him.

"We have put a bit of time into him in the film room and obviously on the training track this week in preparation for it."

Hunt said every player had to be on their game in defence to ensure Kerevi wasn't allowed to wind up.

"When you play freakish talents, whether it be physical players like Samu or lightning wingers or fullbacks, it's your team defence that solves the problem and everyone being accountable for their own actions out on the field," Hunt said.

"That's something we want to pick up on as a unit, but also man-to-man, is being more accountable for our actions out there. This weekend provides a great opportunity for us to do that."

Saturday's game will be Hunt's first trip back to Suncorp Stadium since joining the Waratahs, and the first time he will be in Brisbane as a foe rather than the hometown favourite.

Being on the other side of the Queensland crowd doesn't faze Hunt.

"Obviously (Suncorp) is not an unfamiliar place for me," he said.

"I was 17 when I played my first game there. Plenty of games - Broncos, Queensland origin, Test footy and also for the Reds as well.

"It's just going to be another game. I am looking forward to going up there and playing in front of  and family and against my old teammates. It's going to be an exciting occasion."

Hunt will be reunited with Adam Ashley-Cooper in the centres, with the veteran rotated back into the starting side after coming off the bench against the Lions.

Tom Robertson is set for his first start of 2019, named at loosehead to face the Reds on Saturday night.

Robertson has come off the bench in the past fortnight; his first two matches since rupturing his ACL in Argentina in October last year.

The 25-year-old hasn't started a match at any level since the first Bledisloe Test in August last year, coming off the bench for the Wallabies before his injury.

Robertson's promotion is one of a handful of changes for the Waratahs against Queensland, with the pack reshuffled for the match.

Ned Hanigan moves into the second row from blindside flanker with Lachlan Swinton into the back row and Tom Staniforth back to the bench.

The Waratahs' match against the Reds is a must-win for NSW after just four wins from 11 matches this season.

Hunt has never played Super Rugby finals but has felt the intensity of knock-out footy having played with the Broncos in the early 2000s, and claiming a 2006 NRL premiership.

"That’s why we play football it’s as simple as that, coming as a 17-year-old to the Broncos the expectation was to make the final every year and fortunately I played in a lot of finals as a young kid and maybe I took it for granted back then," Hunt said.

"I haven’t tasted finals football for quite a while and definitely coming down to the 'Tahs it was definitely an expectation of mine considering the group and where they were at last year and all they’ve done in the past

"Although it seems like a long stretch to some people we still believe, and we know that we still have our destiny in our hands and were looking forward to this weekend and getting back on track."

The Waratahs take on the Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday May 18, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports and via RADIO.


Waratahs to face Reds

1. Tom Robertson

2. Damien Fitzpatrick

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Ned Hanigan

5. Rob Simmons

6. Lachlan Swinton

7. Michael Hooper

8. Michael Wells

9. Nick Phipps

10. Bernard Foley

11. Cam Clark

12. Karmichael Hunt

13. Adam Ashley-Cooper

14. Alex Newsome

15. Kurtley Beale


16. Tolu Latu

17. Harry Johnson-Holmes

18. Chris Talakai

19. Tom Staniforth

20. Will MIller

21. Jake Gordon

22. Lalakai Foketi

23. Curtis Rona