Wallabies star Kerevi plays down Fiji link

Daniel Gilhooly
Samu Kerevi is open to playing for Fiji if eligibility rules allow him to

Wallabies vice-captain Samu Kerevi has quashed reports he wants to play for Fiji at the next Rugby World Cup, saying his loyalty lies with Australia.

Blockbusting inside centre Kerevi said he was speaking in jest at luncheon in Suva when he told guests it was his aim to represent his nation of birth in 2023 after completing a club stint in Japan.

The comments emanating from the Fiji Sun newspaper were widely reported, leaving the 26-year-old disappointed as he had been taken out of context.

Responding in a social media post on Monday, he said he was "having a bit of a laugh at a function".

"I've loved representing Fiji in my younger days and I am proud of my Fijian heritage but also extremely proud & honoured to be a Wallaby and all that Australia has done for my family & I."

Kerevi played at under-20 level for Fiji in 2012 but made his senior debut for the Wallabies four years later, when he became an Australia citizen.

Since announcing a lucrative three-season deal with Japanese club Suntory Sungoliath, he has kept the door open to return to the Wallabies for the next World Cup.

While in Japan, Kerevi will be ineligible for Wallabies selection 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.

Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle recently said the relevant "Giteau Rule" surrounding Wallabies eligibility for players in Kerevi's situation was to be reviewed before next season.

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.