ACT Brumbies flyer Isi Naisarani out to prove a point against Melbourne RebelsEamonn Tiernan , Chris Dutton
Published: March 8 2018 - 6:36PM
ACT Brumbies No. 8 Isi Naisarani got offers from every Australian Super Rugby club and the Fijian-flyer is out to prove he made the right decision on Friday night.
Naisarani wasted no time signing with the Brumbies as one of the first Western Force players to leave after the club was axed from Super Rugby last year.
The 195cm back-rower was motivated by the lure of a Super Rugby title and joined Australia's most successful club to work with the likes of David Pocock.
Naisarani, 23, is one of the best young talents in the country and is widely tipped to become a Wallaby as soon as he is eligible next March.
Former Force coach Dave Wessels moved to Melbourne this season and has finally unlocked the potential of the Rebels, but largely on the back of recruiting his own players from the west.
The Rebels are unbeaten on top of the Australian conference and are chasing three consecutive wins for the first time in club history when they host the Brumbies at Aami Park on Friday night.
Naisarani is one of three Brumbies playing this week who Wessels couldn't convince to join him in Melbourne and alongside Chance Peni and Richie Arnold, he'll look to spoil the Rebels party.
Naisarani played every game in his rookie Super Rugby season last year and won the Nathan Sharpe Medal as the Force's best player.
He's picked up where he left off as one of the Brumbies best players and the 110kg young gun is determined to wreak havoc on a Rebels forward pack missing Adam Coleman.
The Brumbies have produced more Wallabies than any other club and Naisarani said he picked the club which would best prepare him for Australian honours.
"The culture here is very good, everyone is really good mates and there are heaps of Wallabies here and that's why I chose the Brumbies," Naisarani said.
"It's a really good program and a lot of the guys playing for the Wallabies now have come through the Brumbies pathway.
"Yes [I got offers from every club] but the Brumbies were the best choice for me."
Naisarani said he doesn't feel the weight of expectation to perform and liked to let his football do the talking, but joked the Brumbies can thank him for Peni and Arnold.
"I was the first player to sign out from the Western Force and Chance and Richie just wanted to follow me, that's why they're here," Naisarani said.
"But no I don't think about [expectations]. I just want to keep doing what I'm doing and play hard and aggressive. The goal is to win a Super Rugby final."
Wessels admitted it was tough to lose Naisarani but emphasised he just wanted the best for his protege.
"When you're close to players, you just want to see them going well. I hope that he's happy in Canberra and that he goes well for the Brumbies," Wessels said.
"All of the success Isi has had and is having, is his, he worked hard for it and he deserves it. He has to remember that's how he built his success and I'm sure that's what he's doing in Canberra.
"As a collective in Australian rugby, we want to support the Wallabies and the Wallabies to go well. That's part of our job and I think Isi is going to add some value to the Wallabies over the next couple of years.
"We're just lucky we've got a player like that in this country."
SUPER RUGBY ROUND FOUR
Friday: Melbourne Rebels v ACT Brumbies at AAMI Park, Melbourne, 7.45pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports.
This story was found at: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/rugby-union/brumbies/act-brumbies-flyer-isi-naisarani-out-to-prove-a-point-against-melbourne-rebels-20180308-h0x6uq.html