Tai Paul McIsaac
- 809Wallaby Number
Tai McIsaac, a former Australian U21 water polo representative, did not realise his national rugby dream until he was 31 years of age. Born in Brisbane, raised on the Gold Coast, but of deep New Zealand heritage, McIsaac was 24 when he played his first game of rugby however his water polo-derived ball skills and general physical presence belied his lack of experience. The impressive form shown by the powerful 1.78 metre, 112 kg prop/hooker for the Gold Coast Breakers in the Brisbane competition saw him win a contract with the Queensland Reds.
He made his debut for Queensland in 2003 against the Crusaders however a lack of opportunities - he did not play one Super Rugby match in 2005 - saw him switch to the new Western Force franchise for their inaugural Super Rugby season in 2006. Long regarded by renowned "scrum doctor" Alex Evans as the strongest scrummaging hooker in Australia the unheralded McIsaac made his well-earned Test debut that same season against England in Sydney. McIsaac won a total of eight caps even as he battled rib-cartilage injuries throughout his sole year of international rugby.
McIsaac won his first Test cap at hooker in the run-on XV for the 1st Test, 34-3 victory over England in Sydney. He accumulated eight Test caps in total, six of which came as the starting No.2 and two during the end-of-season Spring Tour, against Wales and Ireland.