Although he’s made the Wallabies outside centre spot his own, Samu Kerevi’s regular position at the Reds next season is yet to be nailed down.
That was the word from Reds head coach Nick Stiles as Kerevi has split his time between 12 and 13 for the Reds, though every one of his appearances during the 2016 Super Rugby campaign was at outside centre.
The 23-year-old featured at inside centre in Australia’s June series against England but has had most of his impact at Super Rugby and Test level in the number 13 jersey.
Stiles said he was yet to talk to Kerevi about his 2017 plans with plenty of options for the centres spots, including Duncan Paia’aua at inside and outside contenders National Rugby Championship (NRC) breakout star Izaia Perese and Campbell Magnay, who replaced Kerevi when he broke his hand this season.
Karmichael Hunt’s return from injury will also give the Reds another potential centre option, though he would seem more likely to line up at full-back.
“Haven’t had a chat yet with Samu around 12 or 13, just pleasing to see his performances for the Wallabies,” Stiles told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.
“He’s growing every time he pulls on that gold jersey.
“He’s continuing to get better and the other thing that’s good is that he’s playing a lot of minutes with Quade Cooper, that is invaluable for our success next year.
“We do have some selection issues, good selection issues, that you’ve got young players like Duncan Paia’aua and Campbell Magnay, Izaia Perese, that are all really good up and coming footballers, they’re all physical and they’re very talented.
“So, it’s a good position to be in.”
Perese has been a standout for Queensland Country in this year’s NRC competition, playing outside centre and could be a contender to play outside Kerevi if he were to move inside and Stiles said he was
The teen scored four tries for Queensland Country in the 2016 NRC, after returning from a knee injury that kept him out of Australia’s U20 World Cup side.
“You’ve seen the valuable experience he’s got through that NRC and how physical he’s played,” added Stiles.
“Anyone who’s tried to tackle him or anyone who’s been tackled by him knows how physical he is and it’s in his nature is to compete.
“He’s already been doing a fantastic job with that, with the other players over the last few months and I’m really excited about him and how hard he’s going to work through this preseason to get a position.”
The Reds open their 2017 campaign at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane against the Sharks on February 24