While nothing has been confirmed yet, it is widely speculated that the Queensland Reds captain and talisman Samu Kerevi will be moving to Japan after the World Cup this year.
The centre is expected to join Suntory Goliath, bringing an end to his Super Rugby and Wallabies career for however long he is there. This is a decision that has shocked Australian fans, particularly given where he is in his career currently, and they have started to speculate why a player would seek a move away.
The 25-year-old is in the form of his life at the moment, as he has probably been the Reds’ best player this season, and one of Super Rugby’s. His power and offloading game give the Queensland side a lot of momentum, as he will be able to with the Wallabies. He will certainly play a major part in Michael Cheika’s World Cup campaign, but he will be saying goodbye to his international career temporarily after that.
With only 23 Wallabies caps, Kerevi would be unable to represent his country if he is playing abroad due to the Giteau Law, which requires players to have over 60 caps. This is something that he would have weighed up should he decide to leave.
The primary reason why fans think Kerevi wants to leave is money. The Japanese league, or France’s Top 14, can offer significantly more money than Rugby Australia can. Ultimately, this is Kerevi’s job, and it has to be treated like that sometimes. Making a move at the beginning of a World Cup cycle is the best option financially and in rugby terms, as it may not hamper his selection come 2023.
With Rugby Australia potentially facing a costly court battle with Israel Folau, some are speculating that this may be a drain on their resources, forcing some of their star players to make a move.
However, one factor that is being mentioned is the standard of rugby in Super Rugby no longer being what it used to be. While the issue of money has always been in the spotlight in Super Rugby, the decline in quality has been a more pernicious topic.
While Japan will not offer a better standard, there is an argument that Super Rugby is not worth remaining in any more. The Reds play in a virtually empty stadium every week, as crowds and spectators seem uninterested. Kerevi must have noticed that, and it could have influenced his decision.
This is what the fans have said:
You need a football reason to stay and maybe Super Rugby doesn’t offer that allure anymore. Maybe it’s just another league in another part of the world in a game that has a mobile workforce.
— Phil Lutton (@phillutton78) June 7, 2019
High praise & role model labels don’t translate into $. Many mistake professional athletes primary desire is to represent their country but as people do in ‘real life’ they make choices for what’s best for their family if they are the primary breadwinner.
— Heather Arthy (@Heather_Art) June 7, 2019
No future here. Cash in while fit.
— John Dunlop (@JDSportsMgmt) June 7, 2019
It’s all about maximum dollars in his window for earning it. I’d change companies tomorrow if someone doubled my salary.
— Nixon Gill (@Nixon_Gill) June 7, 2019
Why would you want to play rugby in Australia atm? The Super Rugby competition is a mess, stadiums are empty, the commentary and promotion surrounding the game is embarrassing and the financial reasons are non existent.
— Tyrone Alvarez (@Tyrone172V) June 7, 2019
Because the circus that is the ARU is spaffing all its cash on Israel Folau and the Rebels instead of investing in keeping talent inside Australia
— Timbo (@timsmiff15) June 7, 2019
Japan and NH clubs weakening all SH comps and player depth across all the nations little by little. Not that those in the north care, quite the opposite after all those years of southern domination.
— Jupast (@JPStewart19) June 6, 2019
I wonder if it is possible the Folau appeal is stopping RA from increasing their offer to samu so he’ll stay? RA might be worried they won’t be able to afford to pay samu or other big contracts if Folau wins the appeal and gets a payout around the 5+million mark
— WordOfTheLord (@praiseTheLordy) June 7, 2019
This is the big problem that Australian rugby and South African rugby are facing at the moment, as there is a major exodus of talent to the northern hemisphere. While the Springboks have loosened their selection criteria, meaning overseas players can represent their country, the Wallabies have not been so lax, but it is still not stopping some of their biggest stars from leaving.
If Kerevi is to leave Australian rugby, he will play his last Super Rugby game this weekend against the Brumbies in Canberra, having played his last home game against the Blues in an emotional win last weekend.
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