Humble Kerevi plays down 'Lomu trample' as Wallabies park huge Perth win

The Rugby Championship
by Iain Payten

Samu Kerevi may have given Beauden Barrett nightmares with his Lomu-esque trample but the Wallabies centre has revealed he was the “scared” one earlier in the night.

Kerevi modestly played down his powerhouse role in setting up Nic White for one of the Wallabies’ six tries, which lit up the record Optus Stadium crowd.

But the big centre said he wasn’t too happy when the brand new venue went dark for the haka and in the pre-match entertainment.

"Just the stadium was awesome, the stadium, the pitch, how loud the crowd was,” Kerevi said. 

"I heard the live action, I didn’t really get to see it but the lights turning on and off kind of scared me because I’m scared of the dark.”

Comparisons with Jonah Lomu get thrown around a little too freely these days but with his run over Barrett, Kerevi gave as good an impersonation as anyone since the All Blacks fullback trampled Mike Catt in the 1995 Rugby World Cup.

But asked to re-live the moment on Sunday, the ever-humble Kerevi almost tried to pretend he wasn’t there.

🎉 Party time in Perth. #AUSvNZL

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"It was really the boys before that. I just had one little pass,” Kerevi said. 

"Whitey had the pace to get away from Cane and the boys had set it up earlier. 

"The momentum I guess, we had from the first half went into the second, the way the forwards had bene playing, going through that middle channel, they gave us space on the edge. I just want to do my job for the team.”

When it was put to Kerevi he was underplaying his role a bit, the centre said: "I was just trying to get the ball to Whitey.”

"I knew Anton (Lienert-Brown) was on him pretty hard and I was just trying to get passed him, that’s all, just to make it easier.”

It was a heartwarming win for Wallabies fans and had the nation talking about rugby again for all the right reasons.

But the Wallabies themselves weren’t getting carried away, with Kerevi saying the job is “only half-done” ahead of the hardest road-trip in rugby this week for the return fixture against the All Blacks in Auckland.

The Wallabies haven’t won at Eden Park since 1986.

"We know what the All Blacks can do. Last night doesn’t take anything away from that,” Kerevi said. 

"They’re still, in my eyes, the number one team in the world. I don’t care what the world ranking says. They’re the number one team, they’ve been clinical for so many years. Going into this week our prep starts again.”

But after a rough few last year - on and off the field - the confidence boost of a record-smashing victory over the All Blacks can’t be denied.

Kerevi said it was a nice reward for plenty of hard work by all involved.  

“That’s exactly it, we’ve gone through rough times, just with footy and outside external things but I think for us as a group, that belief had to start with our work on rugby itself,” he said.

“I know in this couple of weeks we’ve put in a lot of hard work for each other and not just for the players but the staff as well, they’re putting in time away from their families, they’re putting in lots of efforts, that’s not just around training times, it’s (also) getting around the boys and trying to make us better individually as well as the group.

“I think last night was just a little carrot and it was awesome to get the win for all of us and like I said we build again for this week.

“It’s another amazing opportunity this weekend and a challenge ahead of us.”