Former Wallaby Morgan Turinui has explained why Queensland Reds centre Hunter Paisami was so fired up to prove a point with his massive hit on Melbourne Rebels captain Matt To’omua on Friday night.
Paisami was jettisoned by the Rebels as an 18-year-old, reportedly told by coach Dave Wessels that he was too small although he had also blotted his copy book by being charged with affray following an incident outside a Melbourne nightclub.
“It just illustrates how personal this game is for Hunter Paisami,” said Stan Sport analyst Turinui, who was an assistant coach at the Rebels when Paisami was coming through the ranks in 2017.
Birthday boy’s mammoth shot
“Something of a reject for the Rebels, sent away, found that reincarnation as a centre at the Reds, got a Wallaby jersey out of it.
“This is a personal issue for him as well.”
It was a rollercoaster night for To’omua, who was named man of the match in Queensland’s 23-21 victory despite missing what would have been the winning kick with time up.
“He read it beautifully and just went bang,” Stan Sport commentator Sean Maloney said of the Paisami hit.
“The sound effect through our ref mic was heavy – woah!”
Wallabies legend Tim Horan asked “has he still got the same amount of ribs left?” and fellow Test great Drew Mitchell was also wowed by the impact.
“We felt that up here – I’m sure everyone at Suncorp Stadium did – through the rib cage,” Mitchell said.
“Jeez, Hunter Paisami has made a statement early.”
Paisami made his Wallabies debut last year after a breakout Super Rugby campaign with the Reds.
In an interview with rugby.com.au, Paisami recalled a brutal conversation with Rebels coach Dave Wessels.
“One day, I went up to Dave and I asked him ‘what do you want me to do to try and get a shot?’
“He basically answered my question on the spot; I wasn’t going to play Super Rugby at all,” Paisami said.
“He said he wanted big centres and he basically told me – because I had another year left – if I get another opportunity elsewhere just take it because I won’t play.
“I was cut. I was gutted. I was 18.
“I was frustrated and gutted because he basically said, I won’t be playing Super Rugby.”
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