Samu Kerevi will captain the Queensland Reds in 2019 as the Super Rugby club moves on from the departure of James Slipper, Quade Cooper and Karmichael Hunt.
Queensland coach Brad Thorn has wiped the slate clean after 12 months of distractions, promoting Samu Kerevi to captain the Super Rugby club.
The Wallabies centre has usurped veteran Scott Higginbotham in taking the top job as the Reds move on from the departure of banished trio Quade Cooper, Karmichael Hunt and James Slipper to rival clubs.
Melbourne Rebels-bound Cooper wasn’t used by Thorn when the defensive-minded coach arrived at the club, while James
Slipper (Brumbies) and Karmichael Hunt (Waratahs) were both suspended for separate drug-related indiscretions before finding homes elsewhere for 2019.
Thorn said he was happy to see them land on their feet but that it wouldn’t serve as motivation when they clash.
“Fair to say it was a solid year,” he said, when asked of last season’s distractions.
“I’m please for Slips, … you have Karmichael at the Waratahs, I wish them all well.
“My focus is here though. I just want to compete.
“I’m a bit ruthless like that. I don’t need someone or people in other teams to want to win, I just want to win.”
Humbled by the promotion, Kerevi admitted it would feel weird facing his former teammates as they made up for lost time at new clubs.
“Karmichael’s gone through a lot in the last three, four years,” he said.
“As a Wallaby player you want to see all the best players out on the field, you want players pushing for spots and he’s an amazing player.”
Kerevi, 25, said Thorn’s hard line on culture and standards sat well with him, but hoped he could lighten the coach’s load by setting the tone himself.
“In the past I wouldn’t say it wasn’t policed well, but sometimes we’d let standards drop and wouldn’t pick it up as a playing group,” he said.
“I want us to be player-driven, guys picking up on each other on certain things.”
Thorn thinks leadership suits Kerevi and that his attitude will strengthen the squad.
“He’s a humble and hard-working guy. He has experience at the highest level and inspires those around him through his actions both on and off the field,” he said.