'Unreal, isn't he?': The 'shining light' powering towards Wallabies call-up after explosive showing against the Crusaders
He’s been a shining light in a season of gloom and now Izaia Perese’s teammates believe the barnstorming centre deserves a Wallabies spot.
Even in the Waratahs’ winless campaign through Super Rugby AU and Trans-Tasman competitions, Perese has proven a thorn in opposition defences with his powerhouse running through the midfield.
The 24-year-old one-time Brisbane Bronco and former Queensland Red was again the Waratahs’ best in Saturday’s loss to the Crusaders, his second-half when he steamrolled two defenders another example of his speed and strength.
Playing directly outside the explosive centre, Waratahs winger and vice-captain Alex Newsome is convinced he belongs in Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad for winter’s three-Test series against France.
“Unreal, isn’t he? I reckon he’s probably as dangerous as anyone playing in this competition,” Newsome said ahead of the Waratahs’ trip to Dunedin to face the Highlanders on Saturday.
“He’s so powerful, so fast when he sees a chink in the defence. He’s really been a shining light in our attack.
Monster! Great try this by Izaia Perese pic.twitter.com/ltus7s22Br
— Ultimate Rugby (@ultimaterugby) May 29, 2021
“He just shows the rest of the boys just to back yourself. He’s a guy exwhere nothing’s on and he’ll carry the ball very hard and be aggressive and it’s a lesson learned not just in our team but across the nation as well.
“We’ve had Joey Walton go out early in the year and Izzy’s done such a good job in filling that gap.”
A former Australian schoolboys star, Perese started his career at the Reds before having two ill-fated seasons in the NRL, playing just two games for the Broncos after being stood down indefinitely when charged by police with drug-related offences.
His decision to return to rugby this year, but with the Waratahs and not the Reds, where he had four seasons from 2015-18, has helped Perese reignite his once-flourishing career.
Former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika picked him for the 2017 Rugby Championship but Perese didn’t play a Test.
On form, that’s likely to change in 2021 under Rennie.
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