SBW buoys Reds' wrecking ball Paisami

Mon, 22/03/2021, 11:20 am
Murray Wenzel - AAP
by Murray Wenzel - AAP
Hunter Paisami streaks away against the Force. Photo: Getty Images

Queensland Reds inside centre Hunter Paisami has a baby on the way but it wasn't the only reason he ran with a spring in his step on Saturday.

The Wallabies talent scored twice as the hosts hung on for a 26-19 defeat of the Western Force and a record ninth-straight win at Suncorp Stadium.

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Paisami dummied and ran almost untouched for his second try early in the second half, rocking an imaginary baby in a nod to the expected arrival of his first child later this year.

But on Monday the 22-year-old almost blushed when asked of another significant life event - an Instagram follow from Sonny Bill Williams.

"I was having dinner and I'd followed him when I was at school as a kid and used to get Sonny Bill haircuts," Paisami said.

"It came up as a notification on my watch after I'd shared his post of his retirement.

"I wasn't expecting a message or follow back, but he messaged me and said 'thanks uso' ... a bit of Samoan in there.

No stopping Paisami from that close.

"Sonny and (former New Zealand No.12 Ma'a) Nonu; them together as a combination was pretty deadly, both liked to run hard and I'm just trying to be like them and hopefully achieve some of that."

He's doing his best impression, relishing in the move from outside centre to No.12 after amazingly only playing there for the first time as a Wallaby last year.

A Melbourne Rebels discard after off-field trouble, Paisami headed north with no guarantees and within a season was a Wallaby with a reputation for hard running and harder tackling.

"Every day I wake up and be grateful; around this time last year I was just at home, doing labouring work then got the call to do pre-season and tried to take that with two hands," he said.

Vunivalu swats away McGregor to send Campbell over.

Now playing inside No.13 Jordan Petaia and supporting five-eighth James O'Connor at the Reds - in what could be the Wallabies' first-choice midfield later this year to play France - the Samoan-born talent has been encouraged to rediscover his kicking and passing game.

It has been on show too, a brave grubber finding Petaia for the late match-winner in Canberra two weekends ago.

"I used to play touch and tag, so you're trying to find gaps," he said.

"Coming in fresh at the Reds it was the basics first and Thorny's advice in the first trial game was to 'run hard, hit hard'.

"Now I can find a bit of balance there ... and I am getting better and better with my communication."


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