The invitational side face a World XV at Twickenham on Sunday
Samu Kerevi initially turned down the opportunity to link up with Eddie Jones’s Barbarians but a rapid recovery from his ACL injury allowed the bulldozing Australian to take centre stage under his new boss.
Kerevi, 29, is starting at 12 against the World XV on Sunday in the Killik Cup at Twickenham with an intriguing head-to-head match-up against All Black Ngani Laumape. Kerevi gets a taste of what life under Jones for the Wallabies will be like after the head coach returned to the hot seat Down Under having been sacked by England last December.
Kerevi is no stranger to Jones’s ways, the centre plies his trade with Suntory Sungoliath in Japan – where Jones’s work as a consultant often raised eyebrows during his tenure with the RFU – but this is his first taste of the 63-year-old in the top job.
Read more: Australia Rugby World Cup squad
Behind the scenes of the Eddie Jones Barbarians
“I was injured at the time I got the call (from Eddie) and I told him I couldn’t do it with my knee,” said Kerevi. “But everything kind of worked out and he gave me a call after my first game (back) and when the boss calls (again) you kind of have to say yes!
Related: World XV’s Rhys Patchell says Alun Wyn Jones is irreplaceable
“It was awesome to see the squad and get to play with some blokes I’ve never played with. A guy like Alun Wyn Jones, who is finishing up this year, it’s a massive privilege to play with a legend of the game, for me running out with him will probably be the highlight.
Read more: Barbarians and World XV squads named
“This week he’s (Eddie Jones) been keeping things simple. It’s great to get some more game time under him and see how he sees the game and pick his brain.”
The Barbarians are known for their boozy ways but teetotal Kerevi is on translation duty for the two Japanese players with the squad, including Toshiba’s Kai Yamamoto who is starting at seven.
Kerevi added: “It’s not a normal week of prep. Liquid hydration is No 1 for the lads but personally I don’t drink, so i’m just looking after the boys and I’m being the translator!”
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