Wallabies vs Japan, team news, Hunter Paisami, Samu Kerevi, Dave Rennie, video


After almost withdrawing from the Wallabies’ end-of-year spring tour, Hunter Paisami will start against Japan on Saturday.

News of his selection is expected to be confirmed Thursday afternoon, when Dave Rennie unveils his squad to face the Brave Blossoms in Oita.

Paisami returns after Samu Kerevi was kept on the ice, having only started running following his syndesmosis injury suffered against Argentina earlier this month.

Yet given the edge he provided to the Wallabies and the tough tests awaiting Rennie’s men – Scotland, England and Wales – Kerevi was still unlikely to be fired from injury against Japan.

That doesn’t even take into account the 28-year-old’s concern to make himself available for the UK tour, with Kerevi being keen not to capsize the boat with his Japanese club Suntory paying his bills.

Samu Kerevi was kept on the ice after injuring against Argentina. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Kerevi’s unavailability, however, gave Paisami the opportunity to recover as a regular with the Wallabies.

After starting in the Wallabies’ first five tests of the year, the second-year professional rugby player missed Bledisloe III after returning to Brisbane early for the birth of his first child.

But in a test, Kerevi showed why he made over $ 1 million a season with Suntory, leaving Perth one of the few wallabies whose shares didn’t drop due to Bledisloe’s disappointment.

Paisami was available for the last four tests of the Rugby Championship but was not selected as Rennie opted for a partnership with midfielder Kerevi-Len Ikitau.

This decision to look behind him so soon after the birth of his child ignited his relationship with Rennie.

It is understood that Paisami was about to make himself unavailable for the spring tour, before he was convinced to tour.

In reality though, Paisami, who quickly made a strong impression in his breakout season last year and has since commanded a starting role for the Reds and Wallabies, is seeing the Wallabies’ competitiveness firsthand.

Hunter Paisami was frustrated after Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie (right) didn’t choose despite rushing back to camp after the birth of his first child. Photo: Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

The strong decision making provided by Kerevi, along with Quade Cooper, has shown the new generation of wallabies the importance of time in the saddle.

Paisami, like Brumbies playmaker Noah Lolesio, are players of the future, but they’re still learning when to pass, run and kick.

Cooper is expected to retain the No.10 jersey and play alongside Nic White in halftime, with Rennie intending to win the physical competition first before passing the Brave Blossoms late in the game.

Other subtle adjustments are also expected, with the absence of Sean McMahon allowing the return of Lachie Swinton.

The Waratahs’ blind side flanker, as well as Rebels forward Rob Leota, could come in to start after Pete Samu failed to grab the opportunity with both hands.

Samu, who won two Super Rugby titles with the Crusaders as a super substitute, was a bit slow on the go and his ability to cover multiple positions and accelerate the game could see him return to the reserves.

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Japan, ranked No.10 in the world, won’t be taken lightly, with Rennie fully aware of the threat posed by any team coached by Jamie Joseph and Tony Brown.

Rennie coached the Chiefs to back-to-back titles in 2012 and 2013, before Joseph and Brown led the Highlanders to the Super Rugby title in 2015.

Since then, the duo have leaned on Eddie Jones’ Brave Blossoms and brought them to their first World Cup quarter-final, where they ultimately lost to the overall winners, South Africa. South.

“Always brutal, always at a high pace so I would expect the same,” Rennie told his former New Zealand counterparts.

“They have Scott Hansen in the mix from a defensive standpoint, obviously a smart man who has worked a lot with the Crusaders.

“They have a very good group of astute coaches.

“They fought pretty well against the Lions (in June), came very close to beating Ireland, had a fantastic World Cup, they now have a lot of experience in the squad and a number of foreigners who have had their day here and are now eligible to play for Japan.

“They have a great mix and a lot of confidence in their game.”

This is the first time the Wallabies have faced Japan since 2017, where Michael Hooper’s side won 63-30 in an open game in Yokohama as Reece Hodge replaced the playmaker.

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