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Reds' culture the best I've seen: Kerevi

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/02/2017 David Sigston

Samu Kerevi. © Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images Samu Kerevi. Newly-elevated Reds leader Samu Kerevi has hailed Queensland's culture the best he's seen at the rebuilding Super Rugby club.

Kerevi, just 23 and only in his fourth season of Super Rugby, said a far more inclusive and supportive culture under coach Nick Stiles has allowed for all players - young and old - to take more responsibility.

The bruising Wallabies centre believes it's that off-field improvement which should see an on-field turnaround when the Reds kick off their 2017 campaign against the Sharks on Friday night.

"Everyone's got a voice now," Kerevi told AAP.

"Guys like Eto Nabuli and Chris Kuridrani, the younger guys, everyone's really come out their shells and feel like they can contribute to the team."

Stiles, a co-coach last year with Matt O'Connor, this month named Kerevi in a five-man leadership group alongside captain James Slipper, playmaker Quade Cooper, Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore and rising prop Sam Talakai.

It's that mix of young and old that Kerevi believes has the Reds in good shape for the year after a gruelling pre-season full of "sacrifices".

Alongside Talakai, Kerevi is a leader among the big contingent of players with a Pacific Island background.

"Hopefully we can be a bit of a bridge to the older playing group, but I really think the culture Stilesy has created is one where everyone feels comfortable," said the Fiji-born strike weapon, who spurned offers from the Brumbies and Rebels to stay in Brisbane.

"Everyone is a leader in the team really. We've all worked so hard for each other, for our families, for Queensland".

Stiles and his assistant coaches - Brad Thorn, Shane Arnold and Jason Gilmore - drilled the squad with fitness, contact and skills sessions before Christmas.

The attacking structures feel simpler, and sharper according to Kerevi, who hailed the inclusion of attack coach Arnold to the squad.

Arnold coached a Queensland club rugby side, GPS, featuring Kerevi, Kuridrani and halfback Nick Frisby to a local grand final in 2013.

"He's someone I've always turned to for advice, so it's definitely made it easier having him around," the eight-Test centre said.

Kerevi, a crowd favourite for his blockbusting runs and deft footwork, insists leadership won't change the way he plays but was surprised to be given extra responsibilities.

"I was pretty shocked at first to be honest, it's such a huge honour," he said.

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