Privileged to be playing outside Matt Giteau, Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani admits it won’t be easy for him if he has to play against the nation of his birth at the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
The powerful Fijian-born star has cemented a spot at outside centre over the past couple of years.
He has lined up alongside a number of inside centres including Matt Toomua, Christian Leali’ifano and Giteau, with whom he played a Test together with for the first time in the Wallabies’ season-opener against South Africa.
“It’s good to be to be playing outside him and I think the more we’re going to play together, we’ll get our combination right,” Kuridrani said.
“It’s a honour and an privilege to play outside him.
“I’m starting to read how he plays. He’s really good organising us backs out wide, being a leader everywhere around the field for the backs.”
France-based Giteau, who recently became eligible to play for Australia again, was one of the players Kuridrani admired as he grew up in Fiji before he arrived in Australia at the age of 16.
“I was in grade three or four back in Fiji, I always used to watch him on TV,” Kuridrani said.”
“I’m really lucky to be playing alongside him now.”
Kuridrani played junior representative rugby for Fiji but has proved a valuable addition to the Australian backline ranks.
The draw for the World Cup has thrown his birth nation and adopted nation into the same pool.
The teams are due to clash in Cardiff on September 23.
“It’s going to be hard, but when you get on to that rugby field it’s a different story,” Kuridrani said.
“You can come off and be Fijians and we’re brothers, but once you’re on that field, you are playing for whoever you’re representing. I’m representing Australia.”
He revealed Australia was attracting more fans back in Fiji because of the presence in the current Wallabies squad of Fijian-born players Henry Speight, Samu Kerevi and himself.
“Back in Fiji, most of my village, the family, they all support the Wallabies now because I’m playing for the Wallabies and I have heaps of family back at home,” Kuridrani said.
“Even most of the Fijians they support the Wallabies now, with me, Henry and Kerevi there.”