AAP Rugby

Wallabies centres reunite to take on Boks

By AAP Newswire

Tevita Kuridrani is hopeful of getting back to his attacking best after reuniting with his barn-storming Wallabies centre partner Samu Kerevi for their Rugby Championships clash with South Africa.

The pair haven't played together in a Test match since late 2017 but have been rewarded after impressive Super Rugby seasons with selection for the Johannesburg clash on Saturday.

With 58 Tests to his name, Kuridrani missed the entire Test season last year after tearing his pectoral muscle in the Brumbies' final round.

Kuridrani said he was looking forward to renewing his combination with Queenslander Kerevi, who was this week named Wallabies vice-captain.

"I'm really looking forward to working with him in the midfield, he's a very talented player," the 28-year-old said.

"He's grown into a leadership role and I've got a lot of respect for him."

It's a case of the Wallabies fighting fire with fire with the formidable duo - Kuridrani weighing in at 102kg and Kerevi at 105kg - squaring off with Springboks pair Andre Esterhuizen, who is hefty 110kg and outside centre Jesse Kriel, practically a lightweight at 95kg.

Kuridrani said he was familiar with Kriel's game, with the Springboks centre the most experienced in their backline with 40 Test caps.

"They have a really big midfield, especially this weekend with their new 12 and Jesse Kriel and I'm looking forward to the challenge," Kuridrani said.

"He's a very dangerous player at 13; he's very skilful, he's a good runner, good at defence - I like the way he plays."

Kuridrani's Brumbies teammate Tom Banks has been given first crack at the fullback jersey made vacant by the axing of Israel Folau.

Banks is expected to provide the zip at the back, supported by burly duo Dane Haylett-Petty and Reece Hodge on the wings.

The back three will have to be at their best defensively to keep electric Bulls fullback Warrick Gelant and Sharks duo Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi in check.

Kuridrani said the Wallabies had worked hard on defence.

"We've been working really hard on combinations for this weekend, especially in defence.

"They've got pace out wide so we're expecting that, we've been working on our connections to try not to give them space because they're very quick."