CARDIFF (Reuters) - Samu Kerevi has been retained at centre for Australia, with Kurtley Beale moving to fullback in Australia coach Michael Cheika’s team to face Wales in Saturday’s test in Cardiff.
The halfback pairing of Bernard Foley and Will Genia come back into the starting side after missing last weekend’s victory in Japan, with Karmichael Hunt returning from a neck injury for a place on the bench.
Kerevi and midfield partner Tevita Kuridrani scored five tries between them in the Wallabies’ 63-30 win over Japan, prompting Cheika to stick with the same centre combination. The coach said he is keen to see what powerful-running Kerevi would do against a stronger Welsh outfit.
“I think he’s a very, very good player, Samu. He hasn’t had it all his way this year, so I’m eager to see him fight back and try to get a spot in the team,” Cheika told reporters after naming his squad on Thursday.
The emergence of Kerevi adds to Cheika’s options in the backs, where he says the experienced Beale would still have a playmaking role in attack.
“We’ve got good options. That’s one really good thing for us around how we can set up, because Karmichael can set up at fullback, can set up in the centre; Samu can go 12, 13; Hodge can play pretty much anywhere now. Beale’s got 12,15 and 10 if we need him.
“We’ve got the ability to move and match. He’ll (Beale) still play in that playmaker’s role predominantly. A whole lot won’t change for him.”
Australia are without Israel Folau, who is taking a break from the game and not touring Britain this year.
The Wallabies take on England and Scotland after Saturday’s test in Cardiff.
Team: 15- Kurtley Beale, 14-Marika Koroibete, 13-Tevita Kuridrani, 12-Samu Kerevi, 11-Reece Hodge, 10-Bernard Foley, 9-Will Genia, 8-Sean McMahon, 7-Michael Hooper (captain), 6- Ned Hanigan, 5-Adam Coleman, 4-Rob Simmons, 3-Sekope Kepu, 2-Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1-Scott Sio
Replacements: 16-Stephen Moore, 17-Tom Robertson, 18-Allan Alaalatoa, 19-Matt Philip, 20-Ben McCalman, 21-Nick Phipps, 22-Karmichael Hunt, 23-Henry Speight.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by David Goodman