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Game Special For Isi

Odawara:Wallabies back-rower Isi Naisarani hopes the people back in his small Fijian village of Naqali, Naitasiri  will be supporting Australia over their home country when the two sides meet on
18 Sep 2019 16:33
Game Special For Isi
Isi Naisarani.

Odawara:Wallabies back-rower Isi Naisarani hopes the people back in his small Fijian village of Naqali, Naitasiri  will be supporting Australia over their home country when the two sides meet on Saturday in their World Cup opener in Sapporo.

The big No.8 debuted for the Wallabies against South Africa in Johannesburg after waiting several years to become eligible. His ability to take tough carries and get over the advantage line will be enticing for selectors when they meet this week to pick a side to face the Fijians.

Naisarani started in Australia’s first four Tests of the year before being rested, like a number of other players, against Samoa in Sydney before the squad jetted off for Japan.

It has been a long journey for Naisarani, who moved to Brisbane from Fiji as a 19-year-old before linking up with the Western Force in 2017 under Dave Wessels. He then moved to the Brumbies before working under Wessels again at the Melbourne Rebels this year where he had a stellar season.

A big grin spreads across Naisarani’s face when talking about a clash against Fiji which he knows will be a very special occasion.

“It’s going to mean a lot to me to play against Fiji,” Naisarani said. “For me, to don the Wallabies jersey, it’s a dream come true. [I have] been waiting for so long for this opportunity. Everyone back at home in Fiji are all looking forward to this game and it’s going to be a good match-up this week.”

Asked who those in the village would be supporting, Naisarani replied: “They’re going to go for Australia, I guess.”

Naisarani went to school with Alivereti Veitokani, who started at fullback for Fiji in their most recent Test – a 29-19 victory over Tonga. The Wallabies have three other players in their squad of Fijian heritage – Marika Koroibete, Samu Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani – and all know the threats they pose.

“They can play from anywhere,” Naisarani said. “Plenty of them play in Europe leagues [and there are] some great players and some good players.”

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