"It’s a massive blessing': Samu Kerevi opens up on Wallaby return

Thu, 19/08/2021, 05:34 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies back Samu Kerevi has spoken to media after joining the squad in Perth.

When Australia’s Olympic campaign ended against Canada, it appeared Samu Kerevi’s short stint in Australian colours was over. One phone call on the bus back to the village sealed his return to the Wallabies set up.

Kerevi was called up into the squad for the Rugby Championship, with Reds centre Hunter Paisami expected to leave for the birth of his child.

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He admits a return was the furthest from his mind after their disappointing Olympic Sevens campaign, with the team finishing seventh.

“I got told (about the call-up) after the last game of the Sevens program at the Olympics against Canada,” Kerevi explained to media on Thursday.

“(Tim) Walshy gave me a heads up and then I got the call when I got off the bus at the Olympic village."

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On his initial return to Australia in the pursuit of an Olympic medal, Kerevi told reporters in June he was contempt with his Wallabies dream being put on hold for the immediate future.

Only two months later, Kerevi could be in line for a shock recall for the third Bledisloe Test on August 28 in Perth, with the 27-year-old ready to go despite coming out of a two-week stay in quarantine.

“I didn’t see it coming,” he admitted.

“I hadn’t really spoken to Dave (Rennie) or Scotty (Wisemantel) before that so it was a massive surprise to me.

“There was plenty of excitement but I still knew I had two weeks of quarantine to come so I kept it to myself.

“I thought after 2019 with how selection is from overseas, I didn’t think I would get another opportunity so it’s a blessing for me.

“Anyone overseas wants to put on that gold jersey so it’s a massive blessing and I’m grateful to be in the situation and in this group to help contribute.

“If that opportunity comes knocking, I’ll happily take it.”

His call-up coupled with the Wallabies thumping defeat to the All Blacks last week has re-ignited debate surrounding the 'Giteau Law'.

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Under the current rules, Kerevi qualifies as one of two overseas-based players available for selection alongside former Reds teammate Duncan Paia'aua.

With RA suggesting the ruling could be relaxed heading forward, Kerevi admits he'd still like to see the Wallabies prioritise locally-based players despite being one of the main players to benefit from a change.

“I’ve always been a fan of the Giteau Law. I think it’s pretty awesome to have your top players competing in Australia,” he added.

“I think everyone who’s plying their trade overseas, they always want to put the gold jersey on, they’ll always put their hand up to have that opportunity.

“I can't speak too much on it since I’m overseas and it would work in my behaviour but I think you’ve got to give those guys at home the opportunity to put the jersey on. They worked really hard to earn that Super Rugby AU competition and ply their trade here.

“There’s a lot of layers to it, again with COVID and these quarantines, but that’s up to the big guys up top. I’m just trying to play some good footy.”

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