Perese restores passion for rugby

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Having shot back into Wallabies contention with a spectacular performance against the Highlanders, Izaia Perese believes his best is yet to come.

It's been a topsy turvy year for Perese, who appeared set to star from the get go for Queensland before a partial ACL tear derailed his season.

He returned with two patchy performances against the Waratahs and Chiefs before being sent back to club rugby.

It was the return to Bottomley Park with Easts which rejuvenated the Reds star.

"There were a couple of issues that I had to address off the field with family and stuff that was having a bit of an effect on my footy," he told RUGBY.com.au.

"But in saying that, it was for the better.Perese and Duncan Paia'aua visited St Peter's College on Wednesday as part of National Reconciliation Week. Photo: QRU Media/Brendan Hertel"Because I really enjoyed playing club footy it really got me back and brought back the passion that I thought was dying.

"(The passion) is back there, 100 percent."

Now he's happy off field Perese is thriving on it and he expects the performance against the Highlanders to be the watermark for the remainder of his season.

That's quite the benchmark, as he amassed 87 metres, seven tackle busts, three line breaks and five offloads from 14 runs.

It was Perese at his powerful, leg pumping best.

"I feel as though I'm back to where that's my standard," he said.Perese starred for the Reds in preseason. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart Walmsley"Sitting out on the wing when I came back didn't really give me much.

"Me, as a player, I have to get my hands on the ball.

"I'm not happy with getting the ball once or twice a game because I know I can bring so much to the team.

"That's how the game goes sometimes where you don't see the ball much but the other day was a snippet of how much I love getting my hands on the ball."

Wallabies honours have been the furthest thing from the 21-year-old's mind despite travelling with the team for the large majority of last year.

At his best he is in the frame to feature in coach Michael Cheika's best 23 but the star winger admits he isn't getting his hopes up ahead of Wednesday night's squad announcement.Perese isn't expecting a Wallabies call up. Photo: Getty Images"I don't expect much, I don't even think I'll make it," he said.

"I had my first good game back in a while (on Saturday) so at the end of the day if I do make it, it is what it is.

"I hope they choose someone who really deserves it.

"I've only played one game back and I feel as though I don't quite deserve it, yet."

While Perese may not feature for the Wallabies on June 9, he will be a near certain starter for the mouthwatering clash against the Waratahs this Saturday at Suncorp Stadium.

"We learnt from last game (against NSW), I think we lost our heads a bit," Perese said.

"We did some good things down there but we have plenty to take from that game."

The Reds face the Waratahs at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio.

The Wallabies face Ireland at Suncorp Stadium on June 9, kicking off at 8pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and RUGBY.com.au radio. Buy tickets here.