The Wallabies look set to unleash a midfield power game during the Rugby Championship with Reds battering ram Samu Kerevi in the frame for a Test debut after impressing Australian coach Michael Cheika this Super Rugby season.
For so long, the Wallabies have favoured a second playmaker at inside centre, but the Fiji-born 104kg Kerevi has emerged as a strong candidate for the Australian No.12 jersey.
If Kerevi is selected for the Rugby Championship, which starts on July 18 against South Africa in Brisbane, it would see the Wallabies adopt a similar midfield style used by all-conquering New Zealand, who boast wrecking ball Ma’a Nonu at inside centre.
“Without giving away the squad and who’s going to be in it, I think Kerevi has had an outstanding season,” Cheika told AAP.
“He wasn’t in the original 50-odd (squad) that we put together, but during the season we’ve brought him into those morning-after camps … that obviously shows we are very interested in the way he’s playing.”
The 21-year-old tackle buster, who made debut for the Reds last year, has scored six tries this season to be Queensland’s equal-leading tryscorer and gets a final chance to stake a claim for a Test spot when he lines up against Kurtley Beale and the NSW Waratahs at Allianz Stadium on Saturday night.
While a strong performance from Kerevi in Sydney wouldn’t harm his chances of selection, Cheika rejected suggestions the NSW and Queensland clash is a Wallabies trial.
“I look at it over the whole season. You can’t just have one good game and all of a sudden you are in,” Cheika said.
“We’ve been watching closely, we’ve got a crew of people watching games and we’re making sure we are getting lots of different opinions on players.”