Wallabies centre Samu Kerevi has revealed that he wants to play for Fiji at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
Kerevi – who was born in Fiji – is set to join Suntory Sungoliath in Japan after signing a three-year contract with the Top League side, following six seasons in Super Rugby with the Brisbane-based Reds.
The move means the blockbusting midfielder will become ineligible to play for the Wallabies under Rugby Australia’s ‘Giteau’s Law’. The union’s protocol states that a player must have a minimum of 60 Test caps for Australia before being eligible for selection while playing overseas.
Speaking at an event in his homeland, the 26-year-old’s ambition to wear the colours of the country of his birth was reported by the Fiji Sun.
‘My manager has told me to go to Japan so that I can aim to play for Fiji in the next Rugby World Cup,’ said Kerevi. ‘It is all in the air for me to focus on Japan.’
‘I cannot play for the Wallabies because I cannot reach the threshold of 60 caps, which they are trying to lower.’
Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle has previously stated that her board will review its stance of overseas-based players’ eligibility in the off-season. The union desperately wanted to keep hold of Kerevi but were reportedly outbid by Suntory.
Kerevi added that the move was motivated by his wish to be closer to two of his brothers, who are based in Japan.
‘The biggest drive here is my two brothers Josua and Jone,’ continued Kerevi. ‘They know how to speak three languages which is why I am a bit jealous.’
Kerevi was selected alongside Josua in the Fiji Under-20 team for the 2012 IRB Junior World Championship held in South Africa.
The powerful centre was runner-up to fellow Fijian native Marika Koroibete, who won the award for Wallabies player of the season earlier this week. Kerevi was named Australia’s Super Rugby player of the year after standout performances for the Reds throughout their campaign.
Photo: EPA/Mark R. Cristino/Backpagepix