Wallabies star Kerevi in Tokyo Games squad
Former Wallabies star Samu Kerevi has hit the ground running – literally – in his quest to earn a place in Australia’s men’s sevens team for the Tokyo Olympics. Kerevi arrived back into Australia late last month from his Japan club rugby stint to make a late bid for selection. With fitness a hurdle coming […]
Former Wallabies star Samu Kerevi has hit the ground running – literally – in his quest to earn a place in Australia’s men’s sevens team for the Tokyo Olympics.
Kerevi arrived back into Australia late last month from his Japan club rugby stint to make a late bid for selection.
With fitness a hurdle coming from the 15-a-side game, Kerevi clocked up the kilometres on a treadmill in his hotel room during quarantine to try to get up to speed.
Australia coach Tim Walsh said Kerevi wasn’t given any guarantees about selection but had been impressed with his efforts since joining the squad a week ago.
“So far it’s been very promising,” Walsh said on Thursday.
“He’s a great power runner, his experience and his offload – he complements the squad with his skills.
“Just by virtue of having a player of his calibre, it changes the dynamic of the squad a bit so he’s had a big impact.
“As soon as he was out of quarantine he was at Rugby Australia’s door and all through it he was asking for videos and information.
“There’s no guarantees but hopefully for us and the team he gets to wear the gold jersey.”
Walsh said he intended to use Kerevi in a specialised role as a strike player rather than him playing all 14 minutes of every game.
Kerevi was included in the 13-man squad, named on Thursday, that will line up next weekend against Olympic champions Fiji and New Zealand in an Oceania tournament in Townsville.
Captained by Nick Malouf, only three players remain from the 2016 Olympic campaign.
Lewis Holland, Lachlan Anderson and Tim Anstee have all returned to Sevens from Super Rugby, where they shifted when the international sevens circuit shut down due to COVID.
Kerevi, who has 29 Test caps for the Wallabies and last played in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, said it was a “dream” to compete in the Olympics.
But the 27-year-old admitted he wasn’t “up to speed” just yet.
“I was smashing it out on the treadmill and the watt bike every day to keep some sort of running load.
“It’s definitely a lot more than any 15-a-side game but I want to get fit enough to be able to play seven or five minutes or whatever minutes I do get I want to make an impact.”