Genia talks up Wallabies roomie for improvement

WALLABIES halfback Will Genia might be happy having destructive centre Samu Kerevi as his room-mate again, but it won't just be fun and games for the pair in the lead-up to the Rugby Championship.

Kerevi was picked in the Wallabies' squad of 40 - to be cut to 32 - for the opening match against South Africa at Suncorp Stadium on July 18.

Genia said it was a huge honour for the 21-year-old to be part of the squad moving forward.

"I'm really excited - he's my roomie, so I've got a couple more weeks to room with him now," Genia said of his 104kg Reds teammate.

"I think he's had an exceptional season for the Reds - he was tossed into the deep end a bit."

Genia said despite the fact Kerevi had enjoyed a bumper first full season of Super Rugby - where opposition defences started double-teaming him towards the end of the campaign - the rookie still had plenty of work ahead of him to make the final cut.

"I said to him 'you've only earned the right to work even harder now'," Genia said.

"He's the sort of kid that would definitely take that on board."

Kerevi admitted he had a lot of work to do if he was going to play a major part in the tournament, and perhaps the World Cup, which starts in England on September 18.

"I feel like I'm growing every day and every session, but I still feel like there's a long way to go," he said.

"It would be a great honour (to wear the Wallaby jersey), but I'm just thinking about tomorrow's session.

"My family back in Fiji is really excited. It's a massive step for me."

Reds backline utility James O'Connor missed out on selection, but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said that was not the end of his hopes of wearing Wallaby gold this year.

"I think James' fitness has been an issue over the whole season," Cheika said.

"He'll be staying back to prepare himself and to try to get selected for the squad that will go up against the All Blacks (the Wallabies' third game of the Rugby Championship in Sydney on August 8)."

Cheika did say star Reds playmaker Quade Cooper was on track to face the Springboks, despite recently suffering his third shoulder injury in five months.

"I think he's on target for Test one against South Africa," the coach said.

"He ran a fair bit with the ball, so we're very hopeful of him playing in the first Test."

Wallabies squad:

  • Rory Arnold,
  • Adam Ashley-Cooper,
  • Kurtley Beale,
  • Quade Cooper,
  • Dave Dennis,
  • James Hanson,
  • Scott Fardy,
  • Tetera Faulkner,
  • Israel Folau,
  • Bernard Foley,
  • Will Genia,
  • Matt Giteau,
  • Scott Higginbotham,
  • Greg Holmes,
  • Michael Hooper,
  • Rob Horne,
  • James Horwill,
  • Samu Kerevi,
  • Sekope Kepu,
  • Tevita Kuridrani,
  • Christian Lealiifano,
  • Stephen Moore,
  • Drew Mitchell,
  • Ben McCalman,
  • Sean McMahon,
  • Dean Mumm,
  • Taqele Naiyaravoro,
  • Wycliff Palu,
  • Nick Phipps,
  • David Pocock,
  • Tatafu Polota-Nau,
  • Scott Sio,
  • Rob Simmons,
  • Will Skelton,
  • James Slipper,
  • Toby Smith,
  • Henry Speight,
  • Matt Toomua,
  • Joe Tomane,
  • Nic White.

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