Star centre Samu Kerevi set to rejoin Wallabies squad in Perth

The last time Kerevi played for the Wallabies in Perth, he played a pivotal part in a shock, record-breaking 47-26 win.

Johnson didn’t rule out a return to the starting XV, should Kerevi impress the coaching staff.

“He showed really good commitment to want to come back for the Olympics, he’s in great nick and in light of our COVID situation, the board approved the request to strengthen the depth of the squad,” Johnson said.

“Once he’s in the squad, he’s fighting for a spot. He’s got the right to that. He’s not in there to hold tackle bags. We want everyone competing in that squad.”

Meanwhile, the Wallabies are weighing up whether to throw firebrand back-rower Lachlan Swinton into the Bledisloe Cup furnace as Dave Rennie’s side fight to keep the series alive.

Swinton was absent from the squad which fell 33-25 to the All Blacks in the series opener due to an ankle injury suffered in the final Test against France, but he has proven his fitness in time for the must-win match at Eden Park.

Lachie Swinton was sent off on debut in November last year.

Lachie Swinton was sent off on debut in November last year.Credit:Getty

He was shown a red card just 30 minutes into his Test debut against the All Blacks in Brisbane last year but Rennie and his staff have remained strident fans of his unbridled physicality.

His potential return will add a different element to a Rob Valetini, Michael Hooper and Harry Wilson back row which struggled to provide a platform for their halves on Saturday.

Star halfback Nic White is also fit and available for selection after failing to overcome a knee injury which kept him out of the France series in time for the first Test.

A return for the Brumbies No,9 would provide a welcome, experienced head in the Wallabies’ playmaking ranks.

The 31-year-old has pulled on the gold jersey 37 times since his debut in 2013.

Tate McDermott, Noah Lolesio and Paisami are all promising players, but the trio have just 22 Test caps between them.

Andrew Kellaway is in a battle with Jordan Petaia to keep his spot on the wing after a strong starting debut, as Marika Koroibete’s return creates a welcome selection headache.

Lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto welcomed Koroibete’s return.

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“Guys like Marika and those other boys, they’ve worked hard over the past week and a bit. As a playing group, they’re good men who just made poor decisions. We know that, and we’ve been building this culture for the best part of two years now under Dave, under his guidance,” Salakaia-Loto said.

“For us, we have no problem telling each other off or poking each other in the chest. Marika works extremely hard and everyone knows that. I’m sure the fans at home know how hard he works.

“You could only imagine how hard he works so for us, as a playing group, we accept the apology and are helping him through this period.

“Whatever happens, happens this week. Whoever chucks on this jersey, we have full trust and full faith in our boys to get the job done.”

Whether Swinton brings his aggressive approach from the starting XV or from the bench remains to be seen but Salakaia-Loto revealed the forward pack’s desire to provide a better platform for their halves.

“For us, we have some good ball carriers in our pack both in the team on the weekend and in the squad, as a whole. We’re never satisfied on how we carry the ball and how we perform on the weekend. We’re definitely looking to carry the ball better and utilise our talls,” he said.

“We’re not going to just run into the ground. Everyone is carrying with purpose and looking to dent their line.”

Watch every match of the Bledisloe Cup and The Rugby Championship with live, ad-free and on-demand coverage on Stan Sport continuing this Saturday 14 August from 4:30pm AEST.

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