Wallaby-in-waiting Samu Kerevi has shunned big-money offers from interstate and overseas to pledge his future to the Queensland Reds.
The 22-year-old centre, who has been in sensational form for the Reds this season, has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him at Ballymore until 2018, it was announced on Friday.
Rival Super Rugby sides and European clubs had shown strong interest in Kerevi, who is widely expected to make his Wallabies debut in next month’s three-Test series against England.
But Kerevi said he was determined to help bring success back to the battling Queensland franchise, which plucked him out of Brisbane club rugby in the lead-up to the 2014 season and has nurtured him into one of the competition’s most potent attacking threats.
“I want to build something here at the Reds and I believe in this young group and the coaching staff we have. I believe we can grow into the team we want to be,” he said.
“I’m really enjoying my time at Ballymore. It’s been a tough season, but we’ve showed glimpses of what we’re capable of and we’re only going to get better.
“I grew up watching Queensland and wanting to play for them, so I feel blessed to have that opportunity and I’m excited to be here for another two years.”
Kerevi is still rated in the top-five players across the competition for carries (120) and defenders beaten (35) despite missing the last two matches with a broken hand.
He wasn’t included in the 23-man squad for Saturday’s home clash against the Sunwolves, but will be given until the last possible moment to prove his fitness.
“Through his hard work and dedication, he has established himself as one of the great ball-carrying centres in Super Rugby,” said Daniel Herbert, the Reds’ executive general manager.
“He has a genuine desire to continue to learn and get better and we believe he has plenty of development left in him.
“We look forward to seeing what he can achieve here in Queensland.”