Wallabies veteran Nic White has lauded the influence of Michael Hooper and Samu Kerevi on Australia’s surge to No.3 in the world rugby rankings.
Both Hooper and Kerevi have been in career-best form during the Rugby Championship with the Wallabies peeling off three straight wins for the first time since 2017.
Halfback White, 31, is in awe of his captain Hooper, whose sabbatical in Japan has done him the world of good.
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“He’s into absolutely everything,” White told Stan Sport’s Rugby Heaven ahead of another clash with Argentina on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
“One amazing thing about him is you’ll never see him on the physio table.
“I’m not sure if he even knows where the physio room is. He’s extremely professional off the field within his routine, he eats really well, you’ll see him doing all the recovery options and every training session he only knows stop or go. And it’s go, go, go.
“He’s as mentally strong as they come, probably the toughest guy I’ve played with and I can’t speak highly enough of Hoops. He’s an absolute warrior.”
Hooper, 29, recently overtook George Gregan as Australia’s most capped Test skipper.
Kerevi, 28, has been equally influential in the team’s run of strong form.
The former Reds captain has been near unstoppable in the Rugby Championship after playing for Australia at the Tokyo Olympics.
And White said Kerevi’s influence went far beyond the highlights reel.
“There’s the things you do see – obviously his ball carrying ability – but the things you don’t see are he’s really alert, Samu,” White said.
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“He’s a real thinker of the game as well, he’s on his toes, he’s a bit of a schemer which is what you want in the backs.
“He’s a real prankster off the field and that goes into on the field as well.
“He’s always looking for an opportunity, whether the ball’s in play or out of play he’s always looking to find a way to manipulate a game and that’s something we need.
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“We need big guys that can beat them with brute but we also need guys to be switched on, alert and finding solutions and finding ways around teams.”
Kerevi was man of the match in Australia’s comfortable 27-8 win over the Pumas last weekend.
He has modestly played down his individual exploits while piling praise on his club teammate at Suntory Sungoliath this year – All Blacks rival Beauden Barrett.
“He helped a lot,” Kerevi told reporters.
“He was an open book for me over there. On Wednesdays we’d have extras and I would just tag along with him, even just after the sessions.
“The biggest thing I took out of it was simplicity, simple skill set, kicking done really well and the amount he puts into his work.
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“I want to do the same so picking up extra passing or kicking on the day off on top of the recovery stuff.
“It’s all the little things that I feel add together and over time, you keep building that and it becomes a habit in times of pressure which is something I want to fall back to.”