Kerevi to back his defence at No.13 and stop believing critics

Wallabies No.13 Samu Kerevi says he has worked extremely hard on his defence and decided during pre-season to back himself more often to make correct reads.

Kerevi was punted last August from the Wallabies’ starting XV after a poor defensive showing in the first Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney, which Australia lost 54-34.

Determined: Samu Kerevi at Wallabies training in Brisbane on Thursday.

Determined: Samu Kerevi at Wallabies training in Brisbane on Thursday.

Saturday will mark the first time he has started at No.13 for the Wallabies since then, having played inside-centre on last year’s spring tour.

Instead of listening to his critics, Kerevi has actively decided to back his instincts more.

“Last year I read into it too much, not just from the journos and that, but just in my own self throughout the game [around] not having the confidence to make that hit when I could have,” Kerevi said. “I changed that mindset in pre-season.

“I said if I’m fitter, if I’ve done the work, I still have the confidence to make those big plays. I back myself and everything else is white noise.”

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika believes Kerevi’s own insecurities about his defence are off the mark.

“I don’t know why that’s in his head,” Cheika said. “Other people say it, so he thinks it is. He knows exactly what to do. He’s done it a million times and I back him to go and do it for 80 minutes. He needs to believe in himself."

Kerevi edged out Tevita Kuridrani and Curtis Rona for the outside-centre spot in what was one of the toughest selection decisions for Cheika.

“There’s lots of good players in the squad, especially for that 13 position,” Kerevi said. “Great players have missed out.

“A big goal for me was to be consistent and to really put my foot down in the game. I’m excited and blessed to get this opportunity. I haven’t played the Irish yet, so it’s a great challenge for me.”

Meanwhile, Kerevi explained how he was trying to get a nickname to stick for new Wallabies recruit Pete Samu.

As it turns out, sharing a name hasn’t always made things easy this week on the training pitch.

“One of the boys was calling him to get around the corner, saying: ‘Samu, get around’,” Kerevi said. “Me and him both looked at each other. I call him Pistol Pete.

“I’ve been telling the boys to call him Pistol because when they say Samu I think it’s me. I’m the original one. He’s excited to be here.”

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