Tevita Kuridrani has shunned European offers to chase his World Cup dream with the Brumbies. Photo: Katherine GriffithsWallabies outside-centre Tevita Kuridrani resisted the lure of cashed-up European clubs to chase his World Cup goal, declaring success in Australian rugby is his No.1 priority.
Nanjing Night Net

Fijian-born Kuridrani also expects to be targeted by teams this season after enjoying a spectacular break-out campaign for the Brumbies last year.

Kuridrani has been recalled to the Brumbies’ starting XV for their clash against the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night.

The powerful back was almost tempted by lucrative overseas deals last year before former Brumbies coach Jake White convinced him to stay in Australia.

Kuridrani was rewarded with a Super Rugby grand final appearance and eight Test caps for the Wallabies.

”It wasn’t the right time for me to move on, it was too early and I needed more experience,” Kuridrani said.

”I wanted to play more Super Rugby and for the Wallabies. It was way too early, I still have things I want to achieve.”

The Brumbies hope Kuridrani’s addition will spark the team’s attack as they aim for their first win of the season.

Halfback Nic White will take over kicking duties to ease the pressure on fullback Jesse Mogg.

Mogg missed what would have been a match-levelling penalty in the Brumbies’ loss to the Queensland Reds, and then fumbled a kick in the dying minutes which sealed the Reds’ 10-point win.

Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen is confident they can make amends against the Force.

The Force beat the Brumbies in the last regular season game last year, ruining the Brumbies’ hopes of hosting a home preliminary final or grand final.

”We just spoke about trusting that we can pop sides in the end … we tried to force our hand [against the Reds],” Mowen said.

”We’ve got to make sure we’re the first side to put our foot down [on Saturday night]. We need to create some momentum this year so this is a great game to have. Execution let us down last week, we don’t think that a huge part in our game is wrong, it’s just one or two moments.”

Kuridrani has established himself as one of the most destructive ball runners in Super Rugby.

Kuridrani was the Brumbies’ last-minute hero in their preliminary final against the Pretoria Bulls last season, scoring a match-winning try in the dying seconds to lift the Brumbies into the grand final.

Less than 12 months ago Kuridrani could not force his way into the Brumbies’ starting XV.

But after starring in the Brumbies’ charge to the final, Kuridrani was Australia’s first-choice outside-centre by the end of last year. But the 22-year-old admits he faces a tougher task this season as opposition teams try to curb his influence.

”Hopefully it can be another good season this year,” Kuridrani said. ”I think this year I will have a target on me, but not only me, I think all of the Wallabies boys will have that.”

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