Kepu's hungry to tick that final box
The Rugby Paper|November 15, 2020
DANIEL GALLAN finds out what keeps Wallaby great Sekope Kepu motivated
DANIEL GALLAN

Even after 15 years as a professional, Sekope Kepu still has something to prove. Not to his family or friends, or to the scores of fans who have watched him become the sixth most capped Wallaby of all time (110). The person the 34year-old tighthead is still yet to fully satisfy is himself.

“It’s why I came to England,” he says with a self-aware chuckle, conscious that unfulfillment is not a variable one might associate with him. “I wanted to prove that I still had something to offer. It’s a whole different ball game up here. The northern hemisphere prides itself on the set-piece and the maul and I want to prove to myself that I can do well up here and mix it with the best at scrum time. That’s been a goal to push myself.”

Kepu retired from international rugby following Australia’s 40-16 defeat to England in the quarter-finals of last year’s World Cup. It was his third global showpiece. Most players would have hung up their boots for good.

Instead, the man affectionately called “Uncle” by his Wallaby teammates, insisted on squeezing every last drop of rugby out of his body. Front rowers are often late bloomers but for a man with so many miles behind him, what was he hoping to achieve?

“I wanted a new challenge,” he says. “I know the scrum is massive in England and if I could spend a few years showing that I could hang with these guys then I’d be able to tick a big box.

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