The Wallabies have rallied around a shattered Samu Kerevi after the star centre’s year-ending knee injury.
Kerevi is set for a lengthy stint on the sidelines after hurting his knee during Australia’s Rugby Sevens campaign at the Commonwealth Games.
National coach Dave Rennie had allowed Kerevi to miss the start of the Wallabies’ Rugby Championship campaign in Argentina to compete in the Games.
However, the former Queensland Reds captain will now miss the remainder of the Wallabies’ 2022 campaign.
“(We’re) obviously very disappointed for Samu – 1 had a chat with him just before,” Kerevi’s teammate and fellow centre Len Ikitau said from Argentina on Wednesday.
“(But) I know the type of person he is, and he’s going to bounce back and he’ll be right for next year.”
Wallabies winger Marika Koroibete also sympathised with Kerevi, but promised the Australians would be ready for the Michael Cheika-coached Argentina on Sunday morning (AEST).
“If there’s someone down like Samu, you’ll always have someone who is ready,” Koroibete said.
And that “someone” this weekend could well be Reds centre Hunter Paisami.
“If Hunter gets picked this week, he’s going to do a very good job,” Koroibete said.
“He’s kind of a different player from Samu. He’s got his own game, his own super power. “He’s got his ball skills, he’s an extra playmaker for us as well, he brings energy and he loves to hit.”
Koroibete said with former Wallabies coach Cheika in charge of Argentina, the Pumas were going to “come for” the Australians.
“He (Cheika) is going to rev up the boys – that’s who he is,” the former Melbourne Storm star said.
“It’s super important for us to start well. They’re going to come for us, especially as it’s at their home ground.”
Ikitau echoed Koroibete’s sentiments.
“We know that they’re a different team (under Cheika),” Ikitau said.
“We know they’re going to be dangerous all over the park. For us, it’s fronting up in defence and staying switched on.”