Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi relishing playing outside All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett in Japan
Among Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s top targets from overseas-based players, Kerevi ran amok, bagging two tries as Suntory Sungoliath outclassed Munakata Sanix Blues 75-10.
With four tries in three games, blockbusting centre Kerevi is relishing life playing outside All Blacks playmaker Beauden Barrett.
Such is the pair’s scintillating form in Japan, Kerevi and Barrett could easily meet up on opposite sides later in the year during the Bledisloe Cup.
Like Kerevi, Barrett was in masterly form, scoring his second try for Suntory from three appearances while landing 10 conversions for a 25-point haul.
While Suntory have recorded a maximum 15 points in the competition’s Red conference, former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has achieved the same with his Panasonic Wild Knights, who lead the White section after beating the Canon Eagles 47-0.
The Wild Knights were set on their way to victory with an opening try from Queensland-born No.8 Jack Cornelsen.
Deans’s team fielded former Junior Wallabies centre Dylan Riley and loose forward Esei Haangana, as well as Cornelsen and Aussie-born Japan international Ben Gunter while ex-Australian under-20s fullback Semisi Tupou was a substitute.
At Nagoya, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper started in the Top League for the first time as the Simon Cron-coached Toyota Verblitz overpowered the Honda Heat 45-3 to notch a third straight win.
Hooper played the opening 55 minutes before being replaced by ex-All Blacks skipper Kieran Read as Verblitz underlined their position as one of the competition’s leading fancies.
Cron would be a popular fancy to return to Sydney should the struggling NSW Waratahs opt to dispense with coach Rob Penney.
The former Waratahs assistant’s coaching skills were highly rated by both Hooper and Read when they talked to the international media this week.
The tightest match of the round saw the former Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill denied at the death, as All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara scored after the 80th minute to give NTT Docomo Red Hurricanes a 22-17 win.
Hill’s Ricoh Black Rams, who fielded Queensland brothers Matt and Isaac Lucas, had battled back from 17-5 down after 70 minutes to draw level.
Wallabies five-eighth Bernard Foley had the day off as an unused substitute in Tokyo as the Kubota Spears continued their unbeaten start with a 34-24 win over the NTT Communications Shining Arcs.
The 2019 finalists were always in control but were denied a bonus point by the three tries that the Shining Arcs scored, one of which was finished by former Wallabies flanker Liam Gill.
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