The Melbourne Rebels gave Isi Naisarani 12 weeks to recover from a 10 week hamstring, just to make sure he didn’t break down again.
The powerful number eight will make his Super Rugby return against the Force on Friday having broken down with his first ever “hammy” when teams resumed training after lockdown.
Friday’s match at Leichardt Oval in Sydney, also marks a 50th Super Rugby match for the Fijian after stints in Perth, where he first made his debut under Rebels coach Dave Wessels when he was in charge of the Force, and the ACT Brumbies.
Durability had been the 25-year-old’s hallmark too, clocking more than 1000 minutes gametime in the 2018 and 2019 season, with his performances earning a Wallaby debut last year.
It was national fitness guru Dean Benton who helped guided Naisanri through his early rehab too, before the Rebels threw in an extra couple of weeks of conditioning work to ensure their star didn’t go down again.
The extended lay off, with the season suspension added in, has Naisanri bursting out of his skin and ready to throw himself in to the Force on Friday.
“It’s been three months since I’ve played any rugby,” he said.
“That’s the longest I have ever gone without playing, I’ve never been injured for that long.
“It was a grade three, and it was the first time I’d ever hurt my hamstring.
“The doc said it would take eight weeks or 10 weeks to heal. For me this is my 12th week.
“I’m fully confident I’m ready to go. I can’t wait. I’m excited.”
💥The Pone Fa'amausili appreciation club. #SuperRugbyAU pic.twitter.com/iDblDOSM5A
Getting to 50 games marks a big moment for Naisarani who, by his own admission, thought he might play “a few Super Rugby games”.
He’s added four Wallaby caps to his resume too and is now regarded among the best forwards in Australia.
“It;’s a big milestone for me, a big achievement, for me, my family, for the people that were with me during this time,” he said.
“Hopefully there’s another 50.”
Restrictions mean Naisarani won’t be able to celebrate the milestone with his family, who are in Brisbane, or his partner, who is stuck in Fiji.
She flew back before borders were closed, and Naisarani doesn’t know when he’ll see her again
“She was with me before lockdown, but had to go back,” he said.
“She can’t come back, and it’s tough. I don’t know when she’ll be allowed to come back.
“We’ve been communicating every day, but it will be a few months.
“It’s all good now I’m playing though.
Source: Read Full Article