The 21-year-old has burst into the Super Rugby spotlight since Jordan Petaia’s round two injury, with his fearless running and tough defence earning high praise from coach Brad Thorn.
It’s a rapid rise since Paisami’s move to Brisbane to play club rugby for Wests after a 2018 nightclub incident ended his time with the Melbourne Rebels’ extended squad.
The softly-spoken Paisami admits his swift ascent caught him by surprise, but that he intends to make the most of his second rugby life at Ballymore.
“It’s a dream come true for me to play Super Rugby, especially for the Reds … it’s a big opportunity, a blessing,” he said.
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Paisami’s ad-lib approach has aligned nicely with backs coach Jim McKay, who also coaches him at NRC level.
“He just says back yourself and there was a (licence to) express yourself and just go out there and play footy, Paisami said.
“He likes (straight running lines) and also likes his passing, so a bit of un-structure and structure.”
He’s stripped several kilograms off his sturdy frame to weigh in around 92kg, saying the Brisbane heat and Thorn’s fitness demands offset his similarly ad-lib eating habits.
“I don’t really have a diet, I just eat whatever’s at home,” he said.
But his favourite?
“Sweet and sour pork – takeaway,” he grinned.
It gets no easier on Friday in Christchurch against the three-time defending champions the Crusaders.
“I’ve always liked watching the Crusaders growing up, they’re just really spot on with the stuff they do and not afraid to attack you,” he said.
“Just take (the chance) with two hands, I might not get it again, so I just give it all out from the whistle to the end.”
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