A dejected Samu Kerevi after Australia’s quarter-final loss to England.Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty
A dejected Samu Kerevi after Australia’s quarter-final loss to England.Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty

Wallabies vice-captain set to switch allegiances

Wallabies vice-captain Samu Kerevi is open to playing for Fiji at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Kerevi was among the best-performed Wallabies in 2019, finishing as runner up to Marika Koroibete as John Eales Medallist while the Queensland Reds star was also named as Australia's Super Rugby player of the year.

However, Fiji-born Kerevi will be playing in Japan from next season after he signed a lucrative three-year deal with Suntory Sungoliath.

A dejected Samu Kerevi after Australia’s quarter-final loss to England.Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty
A dejected Samu Kerevi after Australia’s quarter-final loss to England.Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty

The move has made the 26-year-old centre ineligible for selection for Australia - as his 33 Wallabies appearances are short of the 60 Test threshold which overseas-based players must meet in order to be considered for the national team.

"My manager has told me to go to Japan so that I can aim to play for Fiji in the next Rugby World Cup," Kerevi, who was speaking at a luncheon in his homeland, was quoted saying by the Fiji Sun.

"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 said the governing body would review its stance of overseas player eligibility - known as the Giteau Rule and introduced before the 2015 World Cup - in the off-season.