Key Wallaby Samu Kerevi fit to play in World Cup opener


Key Wallaby Samu Kerevi is fit to play in Australia's opening Rugby World Cup match against Georgia.

Question marks over the star centre's fitness were quashed on Wednesday as assistant coach Neal Hatley told reporters at Australia's base that Kerevi had enjoyed a full training session and was "available" for selection for their first game in Paris on Saturday.

The news followed speculation about his continuing recovery from a hand injury as he didn't train with the team on Tuesday.

But on Wednesday, veteran teammate Nic White reported that Kerevi had been back to his destructive ways after a full session.

"Bumped me quite nice - and he's running through blokes!" said halfback White. "Yeah, he was good today." 

Asked why Kerevi had missed Tuesday's session, Hatley said: "No specific reason.

"He has a really individualised plan with with (physiotherapist) John Pryor and (strength and conditioning coach) Jon Clarke, to make sure that at the back end of the week, he's in a very best position to be able to contribute the team if he's called on."

"He's available. (Coach) Eddie (Jones) will make the final decisions on that today and tonight."

It is still possible that Jones could give the inside centre another week off, saving him for what could potentially be a tougher second game for the Australians against Fiji, rather than their opener which they are expected to win more comfortably against the 11th-ranked Georgians.

Lalakai Foketi would be the likely starter at 12 alongside Jordan Petaia in the centre if Jones does decide to keep the 29-year-old Olympian under wraps for the match in Saint-Etienne a week on Sunday.

Whether much-touted teenager Max Jorgensen will make history by becoming the youngest Wallaby ever to play at a World Cup in the opening match still seems a long shot but Jones is never afraid to take an unexpected punt.

And when asked about the exciting youngster who celebrated his 19th birthday at the weekend, White, for one, could not hide how he's already joined the fan club.

"Man, he's impressive, eh? I had lunch with him yesterday and had to remind myself that he just turned 19," White said.

"He's so mature. Such a good competitor. His footy IQ is through the roof, and even just his body, he's impressive.

"I was talking to 'Slips' (James Slipper) and we were just, 'Wow, this guy's going to be good'!"