Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu has commented on the multicultural makeup of the national squad and their representation of a modern Australia.
The current Wallaby crop has a strong overseas influence, with 14 of their 34 players born outside of Australia.
Kepu was born in Sydney to Tongan parents but raised in Auckland, New Zealand. The 32-year-old prop represented New Zealand at the Under 17, 19 and 21 level before moving back to Sydney to join the Waratahs in his early twenties.
“The guys that we all looked up to as Tongans were Willie O [Ofahengaue] and Daniel Manu, those guys that first played for the Wallabies back in the day,” Kepu said on the Fox Sports Rugby Podcast.
“Then you had George Smith and Cliffy (Wycliff Palu) and those guys.
“And now there is a lot of guys that have come over for opportunities, and guys like (Fijian) Marika (Koroibete) who have had a different pathway, through league and then swapping back over to union.
“Myself, being in the situation where I moved over 10 years ago, everyone’s come over for the opportunity of playing professional sports and seeking a better life from the Pacific Islands.
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“Every second person plays some sort of sport, but mainly rugby and league.
“It’s good to see those guys doing well and it’s about pushing them to make the most of the opportunities they’ve been given in the environment we’re in.”
The current Wallabies squad contains players born in New Zealand (five), Fiji (four), Tonga (two), Papua New Guinea, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“You look around, there’s a bunch of immigrants in this team and I guess as an immigrant you’re also representing the people where you come from and all the people that have helped you along the way,” Pocock told Fox Sports.
“To me that’s really special and something that I certainly don’t take for granted.”
Kepu and Pocock will be looking to help the Wallabies seal a series victory against Ireland on Saturday.
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