Wallaby Isi Naisarani boasts the enviable record of having a one hundred percent win record over the All Blacks – albeit from just one appearance.
Naisarani, who is in Melbourne with the Wallabies preparing for Bledisloe 2, spoke today about the reality check he faced when going head to head with the Kiwis for the first time on Saturday night.
Probed on when he first realised the step up in physicality for the match against New Zealand, Naisarani said he knew instantly.
“I think in the first contact when I carried the ball,” laughed Naisarani.
“Test rugby is fast and physically intense but playing against the All Blacks, the boys told me it was going to be another level.
With only three Test caps under his belt, Naisarani admits he’s been trying to pick up as much information as possible from his team mates.
“There are so many good players. Everyone is pushing for spots. I just want to do what I can for the team and whatever roles the coach wants me to play.”
One player whose return to the squad appears imminent is backrow rival David Pocock.
“Dave is a good player, but he’s fighting his way back into the team.
“I’ve always looked up to him. Last year playing for the Brumbies, (I) always learned heaps from him."
The competition for starting spots isn’t confined to just the backrow revealed Kurtley Beale, as the squad preparations ramped up at Scotch College this week.
“We’ve been fighting for spots for at least six weeks and everyone has been pushing to this day, especially in the fullback spot,” admitted Beale.
“Banksy’s (Tom Banks) has been knocking on the door. Dane’s (Haylett-Petty) there as well working really hard so some quality players who have performed at this level in previous years and I think that’s created a really healthy environment to keep our standards high at training.”
Feeling at home in Melbourne this week is Rebels attack coach Shaun Berne, who has also been enlisted as the Wallabies attack coach for their World Cup campaign.
“He just allows everyone to bring their own little spice to the attack,” acknowledges Beale.
“I think that’s the license that a lot of the players have.”
The transformation of the Wallabies attack in just three short games under Berne is obvious, with the Wallabies accumulating a record 47 points against the All Blacks in Perth on Saturday night.
The Wallabies take on New Zealand in Bledisloe 2 this Saturday night in Auckland.