The headline act named in the Australian men's sevens squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Wallabies star Samu Kerevi, says he's embracing the "uncomfortable" as he seeks to earn Australia their first ever men's sevens gold medal.
A surprise inclusion, Kerevi will make his first appearance in the squad since their quarter-final exit at last year's Tokyo Olympics after he completes his Wallabies duties in this month's three-match series against England.
Parachuted into the sevens squad ahead of the Olympics last year, the 28-year-old was a barnstorming success who played a pivotal role in their journey to reaching the quarter-final, but despite his experience in the fifteens game, Kerevi is wary of being known as the team's 'marquee player'.
"That's always on my mind, especially coming in last year to the squad," Kerevi said from Wallaies camp on the Gold Coast. "But I think for myself, I just want to come in and make sure they know I'm there to push for a spot and I'm there to work hard.
"I think the biggest part for me coming in was just making sure I put my head down, listen, it's glass half full. I'm not the best player in the world, I don't want to come in and think I know everything, I'm always willing to learn and listen to guys in the program and the coaching staff and get better, that's why I stepped into a game like sevens."
Making the switch to the fast-paced, high-scoring game, Kerevi says it was the prospect of opening his game up that had him interested making the change.
"It's uncomfortable, it's uncomfortable for a big guy like me to have five or seven metres either side of me and having to track a guy that has great feet and great speed, so a part of it is me stepping into uncomfortable zone that I want to overcome.
"Those boys have been nothing but welcoming to me and the coaching staff just there to support because you know, if I make this squad or not, I'm just there to influence the boys in a positive way and give back a bit of knowledge that I've learned from the game."
Leaving Australian rugby following the 2019 Rugby World Cup, it was feared Kerevi would never pull on the gold jersey again. Two years later he would get the chance, this time in the seven-man game. Having built a close bond with his teammates at the Olympics, he wants to thank the program by winning a Commonwealth Games medal.
"They're [the sevens squad] very important to me, they hold a special part in my heart," Kerevi said. "I was away for a long time and for me to be able to come back to Australia and put on a gold jersey was important to me.
"Even though it wasn't the 15s at the time, they gave me that opportunity and welcomed me with open arms, it was really special. That was that was kind of the bond we made last year after the Olympics, I kind of gave them my word that if I was available I'd definitely come back and try for the Commonwealth Games.
"I understand how the program has toughed it out over the last couple of years, and I think for myself, it's wanting to win a medal for the program more than just myself.
"Of course it would be special, I mean not a lot of guys in 15s get to transition over to sevens to try to win an Olympic gold medal or a Commonwealth gold medal, I think it's pretty important and something that and I'll look back and I'd be happy with knowing that I gave it a crack, but it's more the program that deserves a medal. Those boys work extremely hard, the coaching staff and everyone involved with sevens, they work extremely hard to get that program going every year, so we definitely want to win."
Men's Commonwealth Games squad: Ben Dowling, Matthew Gonzalez, Henry Hutchison, Samu Kerevi, Nathan Lawson, Maurice Longbottom, Nick Malouf, Ben Marr, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Henry Paterson, Dietrich Roache, Corey Toole, Joshua Turner.
Women's Commonwealth Games squad: Charlotte Caslick, Lily Dick, Dom Du Toit, Demi Hayes, Madison Ashby, Tia Hinds, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea, Madison Levi, Teagan Levi, Faith Nathan, Sariah Paki, Jesse Southwell, Sharni Williams.