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How a Wallabies tormentor helped shape Samu Kerevi into world’s best centre

Kerevi’s ability to bend the defensive line was evident from the moment he made his debut for the Queensland Reds but with each passing Test, his ability to create opportunities for others improves.

The 28-year-old is now closer to achieving what he considers to be the ideal game for an inside centre – the Ma’a Nonu model.

All Black great Ma’a Nonu.

All Black great Ma’a Nonu.Credit:PA

“Someone that inspired me was Ma’a Nonu. Seeing a player like that transform his skill set is something I want to get to one day. Adding armour to the armory,” Kerevi said.

“That’s where I want to get to. Having armory in the armour. It’s just about progressing. Never being happy with where I am and always having a glass half full view of performances and, obviously, trying to be consistent.

“I know what I’m good at, as well. I know my ball carries can be strong, and the offload space.

“It doesn’t mean I have to park that. I definitely keep training that and the connections I have with other centres – especially Lenny. It’s an evolving piece that I want to keep improving.”

Kerevi’s return has impressed pundits to the point that he has been labelled the world’s best centre.

The former Reds star wasn’t willing to accept that tag. In his eyes, one of Barrett’s current teammates holds that mantle.

Samu Kerevi has starred since returning to the Wallabies fold.

Samu Kerevi has starred since returning to the Wallabies fold.Credit:Getty

“I think, right now, as a centre that’s got the whole package, for me, would be David Havili,” he said.

“I think the performances he’s put in with the Crusaders, watching those games, and then earning the No. 12 jersey with the ABs – it’s a hard ask.

“They have some outstanding players and as a package of a player, he’s been playing really well in that space. He’s played fullback, he communicates well, he’s great under the high ball and has a great kicking game – he’s brought that to 12 as well.

“He may not have all the line breaks or bumping people off, but it’s the little things in his game. People don’t really see that, but as a centre, I watch it.”

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Meanwhile, SANZAAR and Rugby Australia have issued a public apology to the Pumas and UAR, who felt ‘disrespected’ after photographs of the three other Rugby Championship captains at a media opportunity circulated last week.

“SANZAAR and Rugby Australia take full responsibility for this error and acknowledge that it should not have happened and fully understands Argentina Rugby’s disappointment over this matter after the image appeared in the media,” the apology read.

Stan Sport is the only place to watch every match of the The Rugby Championship continuing this Saturday with the Wallabies v Argentina followed by the Springboks v All Blacks – both matches streaming live, extended and ad-free on Stan Sport from 4:15pm AEST.

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