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Super Rugby
Tevita Kuridrani taking nothing for granted
ESPN Staff
January 20, 2014
Australia's Tevita Kuridrani makes a break, New Zealand v Australia, Bledisloe Cup, Forsyth Bar Stadium, Dunedin, October 19, 2013
Tevita Kuridrani improved his ability in contact in 2013 © Getty Images
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Tevita Kuridrani is under no illusions that he will walk back into the Brumbies side once he has served his suspension after being sent off for a tip-tackle while playing for Australia against Ireland in November,

Kuridrani was banned for five matches for his illegal tackle on Peter O'Mahony at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, and he will miss the Brumbies' pre-season games against the Highlanders in Queenstown and an ACT XV as a consequence. His absence from the matches leaves Andrew Smith most likely to start at outside centre in the Brumbies' first Super Rugby fixture of the 2014 season against Queensland Reds in Canberra on February 22.

''I've got to earn my spot back in the Brumbies, that's first, and then if it goes well keep developing this year to have another crack at the Wallabies,'' Kuridrani told Fairfax Media. ''I'll have to wait for my opportunity to come again, because the boys have been working hard in pre-season.

''It was devastating with the suspension - I thought it was only going to be a week, but these things happen.''

Smith's likely return to the starting side is ironic, for his absence for much of last season due to concussion and a hamstring injury gifted Kuridrani his opportunity.

''Tevita's rise is testament to his pre-season last year,'' Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham told Fairfax Media of the 10-cap Wallabies centre who has now played 26 Super Rugby. ''He turned things around last year. The first season he was here in [2012], he had a few problems controlling the ball in contact.

''We knew he'd have a good year, and then he got a lot of confidence going on to the Wallabies. He cemented his position and looked comfortable there.''

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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