Australia: Dave Rennie defends decision to let Samu Kerevi play Sevens at Commonwealth Games

Date published: August 5 2022 - David Skippers

Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie said he has no regrets about allowing star centre Samu Kerevi to represent Australia in Sevens at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games where he sustained a serious knee injury.

Kerevi has been ruled out for the rest of the year and is set to undergo surgery after rupturing ligaments in his knee in a pool match against Kenya during the Games.

Plan was to face South Africa and New Zealand

Although the 28-year-old was set to miss Australia‘s opening Rugby Championship matches against Argentina in Mendoza and San Juan due to his Sevens commitments, he would have returned for the fixtures against South Africa and New Zealand.

He was already going to miss the Wallabies’ end-of-year tour due to his obligations in Japan’s Rugby League One competition with his club, Suntory, which leaves little room for Rennie to pick his best side ahead of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Rennie revealed that Kerevi was “desperate” to represent his country at the Commonwealth Games after his participation at last year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo and Rugby Australia supported that decision.

“It’s been really tough for him but I was part of the decision-making from the start,” Rennie said from Buenos Aires.

“When I first spoke to Samu about coming back we checked; was he keen to be a Wallaby and he was, and was he keen to go to the Commonwealth Games and he was desperate to go to that.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to go and contribute and help them win a medal and so we don’t regret the decision.”

Rennie believes the injury was just part of playing the game.

“It was a bit of a freak injury and he does an ACL,” he said.

“We’re gutted for him, he was devastated but we don’t regret the decision for him to go as it was the right decision for Rugby Australia.”

Trio set to return to action

The Wallabies were battling an injury crisis in their squad but received good news with Quade Cooper and Jed Holloway (both calf) and Jordan Petaia (concussion) ruled fit for Saturday’s Test against Los Pumas.

Meanwhile, overseas-based second-row Rory Arnold is on course to return to action for the second Test against Argentina in San Juan on August 13. Rennie revealed that Arnold was recovering well from the calf strain sustained before joining the Wallabies camp.

“He’s had a good week training and we’ve increased his load but it was never in contention for this week,” he added.

READ MORE: Quade Cooper returns at fly-half while Jed Holloway debuts in Rugby Championship clash with Argentina