MELBOURNE • Samu Kerevi's hopes of breaking into the Wallabies squad for rugby's June internationals against England have been thrown into doubt after he suffered a broken hand in the Queensland Reds' win over the Cheetahs on Saturday.
The powerful outside centre, widely tipped for international duty after showing good form in the Super Rugby season, came off early in the second half of the Reds' 30-17 win at Lang Park and shed tears on the sideline as he iced his wrist.
The 22-year-old will undergo surgery tomorrow and is expected to be out of action for up to four weeks, the club said in a statement.
That would leave Fiji-born Kerevi, cousin of former Wallabies forward Radike Samo, in a race to be fit for the first match of the three-Test England series in Brisbane on June 11.
The earliest he could return is for the home clash with the Sunwolves on May 21 - the final game before Super Rugby goes into recess.
He was in line for a Wallabies call-up after starring for the Reds this season, leading Queensland in run metres, carries and defenders beaten.
He was last week mentioned as a possible selection by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who included the flyer in some of his preliminary squads last year and is an unabashed fan of the powerful player.
Cheika may be tempted to pick him even if he does not play again before the England series, so good has his form been so far this season.
"It'd be extremely disappointing for him to miss any games," Reds captain James Slipper said. "He's been a crucial part of our team not just this year but last year as well.
"We all know he's a future Wallaby so he just needs to keep being consistent, stay humble and keep working hard.
"He's a great bloke and would serve this country very well. He's got a level head on himself."
Kerevi's injury soured the rebuilding Reds' second win of the season and comes ahead of a difficult assignment against the Canterbury Crusaders in Christchurch on Friday.
It is unclear how the Reds might reshuffle their midfield in his absence.
Interim co-coaches Nick Stiles and Matt O'Connor could bring Japanese Test full-back Ayumu Goromaru off the bench, where he has spent most of the season, and move incumbent No. 15 Karmichael Hunt to the centre.
Alternatively, rookie Henry Taefu is back from the ankle injury that felled him in the opening round, where he made his Super Rugby debut, while utility back Chris Feauai-Sautia is expected to be fit.