Waratahs star Perese fit to face Reds in Super Rugby

Darren Walton |

Izaia Perese can’t wait to take on his former club, the Reds, in NSW’s Super Rugby Pacific opener.
Izaia Perese can’t wait to take on his former club, the Reds, in NSW’s Super Rugby Pacific opener.

The NSW Waratahs have received a much-needed morale booster, with strike centre Izaia Perese saying he’s good to go for their Super Rugby season-opening derby with the Queensland Reds.

And Perese – who was in a moon boot barely a fortnight ago – is also hopeful his World Cup teammate and teenage sensation Max Jorgensen will also make the trip to Brisbane for Saturday night’s clash.

Jorgensen, a selection bolter under Eddie Jones, returned home from France without playing a match after fracturing a fibula in training during Australia’s ill-fated Cup campaign.

The 19-year-old played a full half in the Waratahs A team’s trial against a combined Manly and Warringah outfit last Saturday and Perese says the exciting fullback came through his comeback game unscathed.

It’s now up to coach Darren Coleman whether or not he risks Jorgensen against the Reds at Suncorp Stadium.

“Maxy been tracking along really well,” Perese said.

“He’s been ticking every box really well his return on Saturday was to get through the game, get a few lung burners in, a few runs and contacts in and survive that.

“Now we’re going into round one, we’re going to really carefully manage Maxy.

“He’s still very young and we want a long career out of Maxy boy.”

Max Jorgensen.
Max Jorgensen during his debut Super Rugby Pacific season for the Waratahs. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS)

While Jorgensen appears a 50-50 prospect, Perese – who played three seasons with the Reds from 2016-18 – is champing at the bit to take on his old club after recovering from a foot injury, also sustained in training.

“The body’s feeling good,” Perese said.

“It was good to get a run and a bit of a hit-out there at the weekend, get some in the lungs and trot out there with the boys.

“So I’m feeling good going into this weekend.”

The Waratahs suffered heavy losses to Queensland and Melbourne Rebels in their two pre-season trials proper.

But there’s been no hitting the panic button.

“The good thing about trials is you can really try and work on the basics and not give away too much,” Perese said.

“Now that it’s round one, we’ve got a clean slate and we’re looking to showcase what we can bring.

“I think we’ll be able to go up there and do a job this weekend.

“Being a Queenslander and playing for the Tahs as well, I’m very fortunate to have played on both sides.

“It’s pretty funny, I know the feeling on both ends. I know how they’re going to be coming into the game and we’ve just got to match it.”