Samu Kerevi in action for Australia. Photo: Paul Harding / PA
Samu Kerevi in action for Australia. Photo: Paul Harding / PA
Kurtley Beale in action for Wasps in the European Champions Cup. Photo: Reuters / Paul Childs
Kurtley Beale in action for Wasps in the European Champions Cup. Photo: Reuters / Paul Childs

MELBOURNE, Australia - An untimely knee injury to Kurtley Beale paved the way for Samu Kerevi's Wallabies debut last year but the Fiji-born centre hopes both men can slot into Australia's midfield during the upcoming Rugby Championship.

Beale is back in training with Michael Cheika's squad ahead of the opening test against the All Blacks in Sydney next week, having been rested from the June internationals after returning from his spell at English club Wasps with a hamstring injury.

Kerevi is also on the comeback trail from a high ankle sprain but has enjoyed training alongside playmaker Beale, who is likely to slot in at inside centre if fit.

"Kurtley is an exceptional player with an exceptional rugby brain," the 23-year-old said at the Wallabies' training camp in Cessnock, New South Wales on Thursday.

"We have been doing a lot of opposed stuff with the boys and trying different combinations in the centres. For me, when I do train with Kurtley or train against him, just seeing how he plays excites me.

"I know he can bring that X-factor to the backline and then we have guys like Israel Folau out back, Tevita Kuridrani and Henry Speight out wide that can finish off amazing tries."

Playing both midfield positions, Queensland Reds' Kerevi managed eight tests last year but repeated ankle problems ruled him out of the season-ending tour of Europe and the June internationals against Fiji, Scotland and Italy.

He has been easing back into full contact training this week but is confident he will be fit for the match at Sydney's Olympic stadium.

Few give the Wallabies any chance of winning back the Bledisloe Cup, the annual series contested with world champions New Zealand, to end a losing streak dating back to 2003.

Kerevi, however, can sniff an upset.

"I want to make sure I take every opportunity this year," he said. "This group can change history and be part of it, that's what excites me."

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