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'A long day': Why Kerevi was 'glad' England star wasn't available for Wallabies series

By Finn Morton
Samu Kerevi. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

World class centre Samu Kerevi has revealed why he was “glad” that Manu Tuilagi didn’t come to Australia for England’s three-match Test series earlier this year.

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Kerevi is one of the most menacing and destructive ball carriers in rugby today, and many would agree that he’s one of the best centres in the world.

The former Queensland Reds captain, who has played more than 40 Test matches in the famous gold jersey, is now plying his trade for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan’s Top League.

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While his decision to head to Japan was a surprise to many, the now 29-year-old has still been able to don green and gold for the both the Wallabies and for the Sevens team.

Kerevi, who represented Australia at the Olympics and was injured at Commonwealth Games this year, started all three Test matches against England in July.

But speaking on RugbyPass Offload, Kerevi has opened up about the time he was bumped off by Tuilagi during a Test match at Twickenham.

“I think the one play at the World Cup would’ve been Manu (Tuilagi). Playing him, I remember, I think it was a Test match at England at Twickenham, we lost,” Kerevi said.

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“He ran this ball and he just bumped me over. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt another big man just run past me. I was just like, ‘yep that’s going to be a long day.’

“He’s probably one centre that I wouldn’t say I feared him but he’s a solid dude. When he ran you knew he was coming and you had to be ready for that physicality.

“That’s why I was really glad he didn’t come down to Australia for the England series.”

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Kerevi also named two Rugby World Cup winning All Blacks as other opponents that he’s enjoyed playing against, including an all-time great who he ‘based my game around.”

“I was fortunate enough to play Ma’a Nonu. He was kind of a guy that I based my game around in terms of someone who ran that ball really well, but then he evolved his game over time,” he also told the podcast.

“I was blessed enough to play him in a game (between) the Reds and Hurricanes, but I don’t think I ever played him in the All Black jersey which is probably the only thing I wanted to do was verse him in an All Black jersey.

“I knew I had a handful with Sonny (Bill Williams) when he was playing with the ABs just because of his offload game. He’s a big man, so trying to chop him but he’d get that offload off so trying to secure that.”

While he’s not involved in the Wallabies’ five-Test spring tour at the moment, Kerevi had some things to say about Australia’s close loss to France.

Australia got off Northern Tour off to a ideal start, as they beat Scotland by one-point at Murrayfield. Blair Kinghorn missed a penalty in the final minute, which saw the visitors hold on for a tough win.

Then a week later, the Wallabies were on the cusp of an incredible upset win over France at Stade de France, before a try inside the final five minutes broke the hearts of Australian rugby supporters.

But Kerevi believes the loss was an important “stepping stone” for Australia a year out from the Rugby World Cup, which will be held in France.

“For me it was just seeing those young fellas stand up in their positions and for the team. We’ve had a lot of guys get injured throughout the year and not having a full squad to pick from.

“It’s a good stepping stone moving towards next year and I think for us it’s seeing where the bar is.

“We’re also missing a lot of opportunities that we could have taken to close off that game, and little things like that you can’t waste in a Test match, because a team like France or any team in Test match footy will make you pay for it.”

Next up for the Wallabies is an exciting Test against Italy and Florence, where star prop Allan Alaalatoa set to become the Wallabies’ 85th captain.

Australia will then end their tour with a tough Test against World No. 1 Ireland in Dublin, before a crunch clash with Wales at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

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