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.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
‘Yoga-trance' saw Tim smash kicking records
Brendan Gallagher delves into some of rugby’s most enduring images, their story and why they are still so impactful
Jonny finds some more hills to climb
ENGLAND and Exeter lock Jonny Hill insists he is not in the business of reflecting on past glories as he resets his sights after a stellar end to 2020 for both club and country.
Itoje's excellence shows why locks are top earners
AT first glance reports that second rows are now the most valuable players in the European club game based on a recent survey of wages across Premiership, the Top 14, and the PRO14, was a bit of a surprise.
Harry has to be a key influencer every week
HARRY Randall played really well last weekend, picking up the man-of-the-match award in Bristol’s win over Exeter.
Women thrived in wartime
Brendan Gallagher begins a new series charting the history of the women’s game
Connolly and Foley ruined my Bath team
KEVIN MAGGS THE FORMER IRELAND, BRISTOL, BATH AND ULSTER CENTRE AND FORMER COACH OF MOSELEY
Highs and lows of Will's rollercoaster
Steffan Thomas talks to former Wasp Will Taylor about life after quitting rugby age 25
Backs are turning into grunts now
HEARTFELT apologies in advance to forwards everywhere for this treacherous item because I know how incredibly hard you all work and heavens knows the bloody backs already get more than enough glory, headlines and sponsorships.
Bristol boy Joe's done with clapping Exeter
LIONHEART lock Joe Joyce believes Bristol Bears’ multi-million-pound training ground investment has left the squad with nowhere to hide in their quest for domestic and European domination.
All Blacks deal casts doubt over CVC cash
Well, who would have thought it? Rugby seems to be the new darling of the investment industry and those who have taken the first offer now appear to be somewhat inept.
FREAKED-OUT CRUISE TAKES CONTROL!
Gets COVID-proof movie set after wild virus rant
Assassin's Creed Valhalla (for PC): Another Winner
The Assassin’s Creed series has taken us to numerous historical settings since its 2007 debut, including Ancient Greece, Renaissance Italy, and Revolutionary War-era America. The newest installment, Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, details the Viking invasion of 9th Century England from the perspective of history’s most notorious raiders. Though Valhalla doesn’t introduce anything wholly new to the series, it’s an excellent PC game that follows in the footsteps of its equally exceptional predecessors, Origins and Odyssey.
THE ALL BLACKS
UNLOCKING THE SECRETS TO SUCCESS
A Light From Within
The only one who’d ever been afraid of me was me. Then came Bronwen
Costars Tell All REMEMBERING Patrick
AS THE 11TH ANNIVERSARY OF PATRICK SWAYZE’S DEATH APPROACHES, CASTMATES AND FRIENDS SHARE THEIR MOST TREASURED MEMORIES OF THE BELOVED ACTOR.
PPID DIAGNOSTIC TECHNIQUE ADVANCES
Year-round diagnosis of pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID, also known as Cushing’s) just got easier, thanks to the joint efforts of equine researchers in England and mathematicians in Australia.
Testing New Brass and IMR Powders
The Ninth Step
Her alcoholic father was ready to make amends for the past. Was she ready to forgive him?
KATE GETS BACK TO WORK
REPORTING FOR DUTY! AFTER THREE MONTHS OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT, KATE MIDDLETON IS EAGER TO BE A HANDS-ON ROYAL AGAIN.
HOME IS WHERE THE ART IS
GH’s Nancy Lee Grahn Has Found Creative Ways To Spend Her Break From GH.