Japan Test special for Wallaby Sekope Kepu

Sekope Kepu 1566170469

The game will be his 100th Test and he will join David Campese, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan, George Smith, Matt Giteau, Nathan Sharpe, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Stephen Moore in reaching the milestone.


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Kepu made his debut in 2008 and listed among his memories: the 2013 series against the British & Irish Lions, beating the All Blacks in 2011 and then playing in the 2011 Rugby World, the World Cup final in 2015 and beating England during that tournament.

"They're the Test matches that I remember, regardless of the result," he told media in Japan on Monday.

The prospect of 100 Tests looked unlikely after the loss to the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup final. Kepu had signed for the Bordeaux club in French rugby. But he returned early after only one season and regained his place in the Wallabies.

Extending his playing career meant looking after his body and former All Black, and now Queensland Reds coach, Brad Thorn had given him advice on ensuring his durability.

"[Thorn] gave me a few tips and what not, hence why I have the calf skins on," he said.

"As you get old your head is sharp, but it's about maintaining your body and looking after it as much as you can – the recovery, sleep, the eating, everything that comes with it.

"You get old and I find that's the challenge now – keeping your body in tip-top shape and then managing yourself at training. You have to enjoy every moment and every week," he said.

Chasing his position on the tighthead have been Taniela Tupou and Allan Alaalatoa and Kepu said he enjoys having them challenging him.

They both had exciting futures, he said.

"[Tupou] has got that raw strength and power and if he can channel that into his scrummaging – where he is doing really well – he will get there. It's about him working on the little things that the coaches give him," he said.

Australia had been through highs and lows in his time but the experience had been invaluable.

"You have to go through those tough times and get to those dark places and know what it's like so you know what to expect.

"You only have to look at the guys that have played for the Wallabies in this position – there are some legends of the game. It's a tough place to be at and to play international footy I am just grateful for the opportunity every single time.

"It's no different this week," he said.

Sekope Kepu 1566170469

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