Meet the rookie loosehead and Fijian powerhouse the Wallabies are unleashing on the Springboks

Meet the rookie loosehead and Fijian powerhouse the Wallabies are unleashing on the Springboks

Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika sprung a few surprises when naming his first Wallabies 23 of the year with James Slipper and Nic White returning to the test fold.


However, the two debutants he has included are just as interesting with Fijian born looseforward Isi Naisarani getting a start at number 8 and rookie Waratahs loosehead Harry Johnson-Holmes, who joined the squad late this week, being named on the bench.

Isi Naisarani - 24-yeards-old (Melbourne Rebels)



Fijian born, Naisarani broke onto the Super Rugby scene back into 2017 with the Western Force and claimed the coveted Nathan Sharpe Medal in his debut season with the side as the team's player of the season. His statics with the side were impressive for any player let alone a Super Rugby rookie as he made over 600 running metres from 126 carries and made over 100 tackles.

He left the Rebels at the end of that season and joined the Brumbies after being named the best Australian Super Rugby player. He made a similar impact at the Brumbies before jumping ship ahead of the 2019 Super Rugby season linking up with former Force boss Dave Wessels at the Rebels. 

The hard-hitting and equally hard carrying back-rower can play both blindside flank and number 8 and could go some way in cementing his place in the Wallabies squad for the World Cup later this year in Japan.

He averaged over 10 tackles and 10 carries for the Rebels throughout the 2019 Super Rugby season and became eligible for selection to the Wallabies in April 2019

Harry Johnson-Holmes - 22-years-old (Waratahs)

Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley

Johnson-Holmes is a surprise addition to the Wallabies 23 having arrived in Johannesburg late on Wednesday, less than three days out from the match.

The former Wallabies u20 star has only really established himself as a regular Super Rugby starter this season with the Waratahs, stepping up in the absence of the injured Robertson.

The young loosehead made his Super Rugby debut last year and made 17 appearances but averaged shy of 20 minutes a game during his rookie Super Rugby season.

With Tom Robertson out injured at the Waratahs' Johnson-Holmes made the most of his opportunities averaging 50 minutes per game and featured in all 16 of the Waratahs matches.

The hard working loosehead also averaged 5 carries and about 8 tackles throughout the season and was part of a relatively strong Waratahs pack. 

Once again he has been given his opportunity to shine at the expense of Tom Robertson who returned to Australia injured.

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