Get to know the Wallabies centre and his incredible backstory
Who is Samu Kerevi: Ten things you should know about the Australia star
Considered vital to how the Wallabies play, centre Kerevi is equally adept at sevens.
He is renowned in the 15-player game for his defender-busting carries.
Ten things you should know about Samu Kerevi
1. Samu Kerevi was born in Viseisei, Fiji, on 27 September 1993.
His father Nimilote has represented Fiji at football and his two brothers Josua (centre, wing or full-back) and Jone (hooker or flank) play for for the Toyota Industries Shuttles Aichi, in Japan.
2. Kerevi was born in Fiji but arrived in Brisbane as a seven year old. He has spoken about the life of crime his family were caught up in back on the islands.
Kerevi recently told reporters of his family: “They weren’t in the best area and there was a lot of crime. A lot of my older cousins are in jail. My uncles have been in jail for 15-plus years. They’re all out now and they’ve changed their lives. I’ve got a cousin who has just come out from a 14-year stint and I want to be there when he comes home.
‘They tell me about the things that used to go on. I couldn’t believe it. It’s like things out of a movie. Bank robberies, assaults…”
3. Before heading to Australia, Kerevi lived in the Solomon Islands, where his grandfather had worked for the Commonwealth. But they had to leave the country because of a coup d’etat.
Kerevi says the next stop was meant to be New Zealand, but he says: “I got a bridging visa for asylum seekers and we ended up staying” in Brisbane.
4. The centre played for Queensland in the Australian Schools Rugby Championships in 2011 and was picked to play for Fiji U20s in 2012, then the following year was recruited into Australia’s U20 for the Junior World Championships in France – however clerical errors with the Australian set-up meant he could not attain the visas in time to travel.
5. Kerevi was awarded Australian citizenship in August 2016, having made his Test debut in gold in June that year.
6. The centre currently plays for Suntory Sungoliath in Japan, who are coached by Milton Haig. Eddie Jones is also the director of rugby there, a role he holds at the same time as being England head coach, and Kerevi has said of the coach: ““He’s improved my physical side, and my work ethic off the ball. He spoke about last year, trying to get more touches in my hands, and has spoken about Manu (Tuilagi) a lot and how he’s progressed his game.”
7. In 2021, Kerevi was selected to represent Australia at sevens in the Tokyo Olympics, skipping his off-season from Suntory to make his sevens debut. Australia lost to Fiji in the quarter-finals, in Tokyo.
He is also representing Australia in sevens at the Commonwealth Games, and said: “Not a lot of 15s players get to play both sides of the code in terms of sevens and 15s and to be able to go and try to win a gold medal at the Olympics, or try to win a Commonwealth Games medal – it’s pretty special.”
8. In November, Kerevi – plus Sean McMahon and Quade Cooper – opted out of the Wallabies tour to play Scotland, England and Wales in order to take part in pre-season training for his club in Japan. After some backlash, the centre posted on social media: “That time may be now and if it is I will forever be grateful to have had played a part in the Wallaby journey.
“One thing, don’t ever question my love for it!”
9. Kerevi has designed a range for clothing brand Tru3y.
10. He also credits All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett with bringing his game on, due to time together at Suntory.
He said of Barrett: “On Wednesdays, we would have extras and stuff and I would just tag along with him.
“I think for him, the biggest thing I took out of it was simplicity. Simple skill set, simple kicking, simple things done really, really well.
“The amount of time he puts into his work, I wanted to do the same. Picking up extra passing on a day off or extra kicking on a day off on top of recovery stuff, which he’s big on.”
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