According to reports out of Australia, Queensland Reds wing Izaia Perese is set for a shocking code switch after linking up with the Brisbane Broncos.
The Sydney Morning Herald have reported that the 21-year-old has signed a training replacement contract with the Brisbane NRL club through their Super Cup affiliate Redcliffe Dolphins.
Perese’s departure opens the door for Wallabies winger Sefa Naivalu to join the team, with SMH reporting the Rebel will head to the club.
Initially tipped to leave the club once his contract expires in 2020, Perese reportedly hasn’t shown during Reds preseason and will get out of rugby union immediately.
The loss of Perese to rugby league will be a tough blow for Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika, who carried the young winger on tour and praised him as a future Wallaby.
“He’s killing it,” the Cheika said in 2017. “He’s in a very competitive position. I think he’s a guy who can defend in the midfield as well.”
“He’s got that genuine pace; he’s got a great mindset and a great attitude. He’s coming along very nicely.”
Perese only managed five appearances for the Reds in 2018 after battling a knee injury, and in June rumours of a code switch began to circulate.
26-year-old Naivalu – who should take Perese’s place at the club – is a 10-test Wallaby who was competing with fellow Wallabies outside backs Marika Koroibete, Reece Hodge and Jack Maddocks for playing time in Melbourne.
The move to Queensland should see the explosive winger spend more time on the field in the lead up to next year’s Rugby World Cup, with Michael Cheika tending to pick the Fijian-born flyer when he is available.
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