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Nakarawa Eyes Rio

Nakarawa Eyes Rio
Flying Fijians reps Henry Seniloli and Leone Nakarawa with fans at the Nadi International Airport yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA
October 10
12:13 2015

Leone Nakarawa is keen to be in the Ben Ryan-coached Vodafone Fijians 7s team to the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The robust lock forward arrived with the Vodafone Flying Fijians at the Nadi International Airport yesterday after taking part in the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The Kadavu native is happy to play in the abbreviated code again after representing Fiji during the 2012-13 World Sevens Series.

“Every player would want to play at the Rio Olympics and if given the opportunity. I will take it,” he said.

“I am keen, eager to make the cut  but I need to prove myself first to  Ryan,

“There are many local players who are playing well already and making Fiji the champion side last season.

“I think their fitness level is really high so I need to work hard to be on par with them.

“I will take a two- week rest before I rejoin the Glasgow Warriors for PRO12 competition.

“After the PRO12 competition I will start getting ready for the tough mission ahead,” he said.


Farewell to a Fijian phenomenon

RWC 2015 has lost one of its most outstanding players, according to World Rugby.

Leone Nakarawa and Fiji ended their RWC 2015 campaign with a 47-15 win over Uruguay, and with 32 pool matches completed across the tournament, the lists that measure individual performance in the tournament are almost all marked with a bit of the Glasgow Warriors’ second-row.

As of Thursday, Nakarawa leads the tournament for offloads (10) and turnovers won (9), meaning the lock forward steals ball like David Pocock and offloads like Sonny Bill Williams.

Or rather, they do it like he does, as he is ahead of both of them on the list of their respective specialities.

He is also fifth for most runs made (42), seventh for carries over the gainline (19), and in the top 20 of another two categories: 16th for most metres made (177m) and 20th for most tackles made (34). His presence in so many of the lists indicates a player who is, at the very least, central to the action in defence, and a huge threat in attack.


Man of the match

Not surprisingly, he has represented Fiji in sevens, both in the World Sevens Series and the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Russia.

An offload for a try assist and a try of his own from a wide support run were conspicuous enough to earn Nakarawa the man-of-the-match award against Uruguay, but statistically – apart from lineout takes – it was one of his lesser RWC 2015 performances.

He and captain Akapusi Qera were the only Fiji players who played all 80 minutes in every match, and his contributions against the stronger Pool A teams were more telling.


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