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Fijian back-rower edges closer to Wallabies debut


Fijian back-rower edges closer to Wallabies debut

Fijian-born Number Eight Isi Naisarani has been named as a development player to accompany the Wallabies on their spring tour.

Naisarani isn’t eligible to represent Australia until April next year, but has been earmarked as a future Wallaby who can add some bulk to the back row alongside Michael Hooper and David Pocock.

Naisarani spent a year with the Force in 2017 and starred alongside Pocock at the Brumbies in 2018 before committing to the Rebels for next season.

In 2018 he led the Brumbies forward pack in tries scored with five and run metres with 946.

He will be joined by fellow Brumbies backrower Rob Valetini on tour after the 20-year-old was also named as a development player.

A member of the Australian U20 side last year, Valetini made three appearances for the Brumbies in 2018 and scored his first Super Rugby try.

18-year-old outside Jordan Petaia and halfback Jake Gordon are the only uncapped members in Michael Cheika’s 32 man squad.

Should Petaia appear in gold during the November internationals, he will become the third youngest Wallaby.

The squad includes three overseas-based players, including 116-test veteran utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper. The 34-year-old is currently based in Japan and last appeared for the side in 2016.

Wallabies Squad

Forwards: Jermaine Ainsley (Rebels), Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Adam Coleman (Rebels), Jack Dempsey (Waratahs), Folau Fainga’a (Brumbies), Ned Hanigan (Waratahs), Michael Hooper (captain, Waratahs), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tolu Latu (Waratahs), Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester) David Pocock (Brumbies), Izack Rodda (Reds), Rob Simmons (Waratahs), Pete Samu (Brumbies), Scott Sio (Brumbies), Taniela Tupou (Reds)

Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper (Kobe), Tom Banks (Brumbies), Kurtley Beale, (Waratahs), Israel Folau (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Will Genia (Rebels), Jake Gordon (Waratahs), Dane Haylett-Petty (Rebels), Samu Kerevi (Reds), Marika Koroibete (Rebels), Jack Maddocks (Rebels), Sefa Naivalu (Rebels), Jordan Petaia (Reds), Nick Phipps (Waratahs), Matt Toomua (Leicester)

Development players: Rob Valetini (Brumbies), Isi Naisarani (Rebels)

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Fijian back-rower edges closer to Wallabies debut