Samu Kerevi is loving the Wallabies’ new direction and has hopes his fledgling monster centres partnership with Tevita Kuridrani continues for the Bledisloe Cup series against New Zealand starting in a fortnight.
The pair’s run-first philosophy is a different look for Michael Cheika’s midfield after a forgettable 2018 campaign that sought to quickly spread the ball wide.
Paired together for a second consecutive Test, Kerevi and Kurudrani again had a degree of success in Saturday’s grinding 16-10 defeat of Argentina in Brisbane, where both teams managed just one try despite ample opportunities to post more points.
The addition of Kurtley Beale at fulback gives the team an extra playmaking option and Kerevi is optimistic a power centre partnership can do further damage against the world champion All Blacks in Perth on August 10.
“With KB (fullback Kurtley Beale) and (No.10) Christian (Lealiifano) doing most of the playmaking … (they’re) just trying to get the ball in our hands,” Kerevi said.
“We’ve got a real combo going on; I wanted to get more ball to T (Kuridrani), get (wingers Reece Hodge) Hodgey and Marika (Koroibete) into the game and was really happy with that.”
Sleight of hand from Lealiifano to put Koroibete through a hole created Reece Hodge’s first-half try but it was the side’s set piece dominance – and more resolute defence – that ultimately got them home in a game where both sides dropped plenty of ball.
Argentinian captain Pablo Matera said it was easy to see the changes made since the teams last met.
“I remember last year they went from one side to another and today they were more direct and used their big guys to break the line,” he said.
“They used to play a wider game … they’re great players (Kerevi and Kuridrani), they broke the line several times, it was tough.”
That combination could be broken in Perth though as Cheika continues to browse his options ahead of the World Cup st arting in September.
Utility back James O’Connor had a 12-minute cameo at inside centre in his return to the side after a six-year hiatus while flanker David Pocock is also a chance to play his first game since March in what will be the side’s third-last outing before the Cup.
Pumas coach Mario Ledesma was happy to talk up the side he worked with as an assistant coach as recently as 2017.
“They have a great squad and on any given day they can beat anybody and if they play at home I’d say (they’re a) 50-50 (chance) or even more,” he said of their Perth prospects.
“They’ve beaten them already in the past (in Brisbane in 2017) and they (New Zealand) played a pretty scrappy game against the South Africans.
“I’d say they’re building up nicely, the Wallabies.”
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