Log in

'Sky's the limit': Kerevi praises Ikitau as he shrugs off 'world's best' tag

Mon, 27/09/2021, 6:37 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallabies win comfortably in Townsville against the Pumas

Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi has fended off claims of being one of the premier centres in the world, instead taking the chance to talk up and praise the growth of Len Ikitau.

Kerevi has made a major difference since returning to the Wallabies set-up, producing a dominant showing during their 27-8 win over Argentina.

Click here to get your tickets for the eToro Rugby Championship

After the match, he was singled out by opposition coach Mario Ledesma, who believes he was the difference-maker during the victory.

It left many to question where the 28-year-old sits amongst the rest of the world.

This was quickly shut down by Kerevi, who put the likes of All Blacks standout David Havili and Fijian Sami Radradra above him.

“I’m definitely not the world’s best centre at the moment. I think there are definitely better players out there than me at the moment,” Kerevi told reporters when asked if he considered himself as one of the best in the world.

“…For the last couple of years, I’ve been watching Semi (Radradra), Semi’s been playing some outstanding rugby. South Africa have their centre pairing who are playing well from the last World Cup but I think the best is a centre who has the whole package for me (which) is David Havili.

“I think the performance he has put in with the Crusaders, watching those games and earning that 12 jersey with the AB’s, it’s a hard task because they have some excellent players...As a package of a player, he’s been playing really well in the space.”

However, Kerevi has no doubt his centre partner Ikitau can join them as he continues to flourish in Wallabies colours.

Enjoying a breakout 2021, Ikitau's confidence and growth is something that has impressed Kerevi, who is excited to see how he develops in the future.

“With Lenny, the sky is the limit,” he said.

“From the first time I’ve played with him until now, he’s gotten so much more confidence outside me. I never wanted to be a big dog coming into the group as a centre because I’ve played a little bit more Tests than him but he’s earned that space and really comfortable with me being inside him a centre pairing.

“I want him to earn that space and be comfortable to speak to me openly on and off the field, I’m trying to spend more time off the field with the boys which has been awesome. I’m tried to get Lenny off the Playstation and (NBA)2K so I can connect with him more so on the field, it’s a more polished performance that we can have together.

“As much of the line breaks that I have, I want him to have equal touches and that’s the space I’m trying to grow.

“He could be the world’s best 13 if he wanted to be, he’s got outstanding defence and in his attacking game, he has awesome feet on him and he reads the game well. Just more opportunities in the jersey will grow his confidence. He’s signed for another two years with the club and country so I’m excited to see where he goes.”


THE WIN: Wallabies seal victory over Argentina

FIVE THINGS: Experience powers Wallabies home

TITLE SEALING: NZ defeat Springboks in thriller

Ikitau has admitted in the past that he has felt shy within his Wallabies group given his rapid rise, something the Olympic representative and flyhalf Quade Cooper was looking to coax out of him on and off the field.

“He’s been talking and Quade and I have been talking to him heaps about over-communicating because he is usually a really shy guy and doesn’t talk a lot so we’ve had to bring that out of him because at the Test level, the opportunities we miss can be a game-winner," he added.

“For us, I think it’s about giving him confidence in that space and in his 13 channel to own that space. Whatever calls he makes and if it’s early enough, it’ll overshadow Quade’s or mine because we’re trusting him.

“On the weekend, he was really loud and those opportunities we missed giving him the ball, he’s communicating. That’s where we growing as a centre pairing, he’s picking me up on it which is what I want and need so that’s the growth I see in Lenny.”

All Blacks took 'step up', says coach Foster after Springboks loss
Emotional Wallabies reflect after tough Argentina victory
Wallabies' injury woes continue as Quade Cooper suffers suspected ruptured Achilles
The Wallabies saluted under pressure against Argentina. Photo: Getty Images
Five things we learnt from Wallabies v Argentina
Rugby.com.au Logo

The Rugby.com.au are a proud part of Rugby AU

© 2021 Australian Rugby. All rights reserved.