Brumbies recruit Naisarani's 15-month wait for Wallabies call

ACT Brumbies recruit Isi Naisarani knocked back a chance to play for Fiji to set his sights on playing for Australia at the 2019 World Cup, adamant he has the patience to chase his Wallabies goal.

???But the powerfully-built back-rower has been given an eligibility delay which is set to rule him out of Australian Test duties until March, 2019.

Naisarani looms as a Brumbies back-row weapon after the Canberra club swooped on the 22-year-old when the Western Force was axed from Super Rugby.

???The Fijian-born No. 8 is already on the Wallabies radar, but officials are waiting for him to get a clearance from World Rugby to represent Australia.

Naisarani moved to Australia in 2014 after his aunt and uncle convinced him he was good enough to carve out a rugby career in Super Rugby.

World Rugby eligibility residency criteria requires players to spend three consecutive years in a country before they are available for Test selection.

Naisarani's initial visa expired at the end of 2015 and he didn't return to Australia until March, 2016, restarting his wait to be available to play for Australia.

Fiji was keen for him to play for his country of birth, but the lure of playing for Australia at the World Cup in 2019 was too attractive.

The chance to play for the Wallabies will be Naisarani's No. 1 motivation when he makes his debut for the Brumbies after winning the Force player of the year award in his rookie season this year.

???"To be honest, pulling on the Wallabies jersey is my own goal. And I feel like I'm a step closer to it at the Brumbies," Naisarani said.

"For me, it's a way to give back to my family. I think I become eligible in March, 2019, that's when I will be ready to play for the Wallabies.

"It is a long way away and it's hard for motivation. But for me personally, I need to work hard and improve so that when that time does come for the Wallabies, I'm ready.

"My uncle and aunt are the reason I'm out here, they're the ones who suggested I move to Australia and said I was good enough. So every time I play, I feel like I'm playing for my family."

Naisarani spent the first week of Brumbies training living at the AIS as he settled into the capital and restarted his Super Rugby journey.

He will be a massive addition to the Brumbies forward pack and will link with David Pocock when the former Wallabies skipper ends a 12-month Australian rugby sabbatical next year.

His arrival in Canberra will create massive competition for back-row spots, with Pocock and Naisarani to be joined by Lachie McCaffrey, Tom Cusack, Lolo Fakaosilea and Rob Valetini.

Naisarani, 195 centimetres and 110 kilograms, hopes working with Pocock and forwards coach Laurie Fisher will help him make rapid improvements to prepare him for an international leap.

"To have David Pocock is going to be a massive learning experience for me," Naisarani said.

"I'm thankful to the brumbies for seeing something in me. I'm here to learn and improve my game as much as I can."

Fisher is back in Canberra for the first time since in 2015 after a coaching stint at English club Gloucester.

"The guys know that they've got to work hard and work smart ... the guys who have come from [the Force] look like they've been in a good program," Fisher said.

"Isi is a good looking athlete, he's communicative, he listens and he asks. I think he's a great addition ... the competition in the back row is superb.

"They're all good footballers, our challenge is to make them better."

This story Brumbies recruit Naisarani's 15-month wait for Wallabies call first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.