The twin coaching talents of Wallabies legend Stephen Larkham and skills coach Mick Byrne, and competition with Tevita Kuridrani, are helping push Samu Kerevi to become the damaging outside centre Australia craves.
The Fijian-born 23-year-old has made significant improvements in his first season of international rugby, duelling with Kuridrani for the No.13 jersey which he’s made his own since debuting against England in June.
And while far from the finished product, coach Michael Cheika would be delighted in the development of the hard-running Kerevi in 2016 – the fruits of which were on display in a two-try effort against Argentina at Twickenham on Saturday.
After what was arguably his most polished performance at Test level, Kerevi discussed the influence the pair was having on fine-tuning his backline play.
“Bernie’s just made things a bit easier for me in the backline, basically just telling me to run hard,” Kerevi said.
“Mick’s been working on our skills, that speed of ball and transferring the ball into space – that’s something I’m trying to add into my game.
“I know I attract a lot of defenders so my offload game, I’m just trying to make it a bit better and a bit cleaner.
“It goes back to the boys at training – especially Tevita, he’s been pushing me whether it’s in the gym or on the field, I’ve got a great relationship with him.
“We’ll keep pushing each other for that 13 spot and hopefully we’re making that centre spot a bit better.”
Kerevi sheepishly admitted his error in giving away a penalty – for obstruction from the kickoff – right on halftime which gave Argentina an easy three points, but insisted it didn’t earn a rebuke from Cheika at the break.
And judging by the coach’s glowing post-match appraisal, Kerevi is well and truly in Cheika’s good books.
“You could see the intent he had always. He did not want to be stopped,” Cheika said.
“He’d drive his legs , keep going and get up again.
“It’s a strength of his. He wants to use it and that’s I want him to do as well.”