SPORTS

Leawere Excited For Special Match

It is quiet nerve-wrecking to be at home. I’ve got heaps of my family from my Fijian side here coming to watch the game, so I feel really excited: Isaia Leawere.
12 Jul 2019 14:38
Leawere Excited For Special Match
Maori All Blacks lock forward Isaia Leawere in Suva on July 11, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

 

It will be a special moment for Maori All Blacks lock forward Isaia Leawere when he faces his Fiji Airways Flying Fijians brothers at the ANZ Stadium in Suva tomorrow.

The 22 year-old, whose mother is Maori, is the eldest son of former Flying Fijians vice-captain and current Vodafone Fijian Under-20 coach Kele Leawere.

Playing Super Rugby for the Hurricanes, Leawere will start in the first of the two-match Pacific Test Series tomorrow. Following his father’s footsteps, Leawere is keen to represent the Flying Fijians, if given the opportunity.

“If given the chance I would love to represent Fiji in future as anything is possible,” Leawere said.

Representing both

But the match this Saturday will be a special one for hi“My dad is from Fiji and I will be representing both sides,” he said.

“My family in New Zealand and Fiji always support me, especially my mum and dad who are both proud of me.

“It is quiet nerve-wrecking to be at home and I’ve got heaps of my family from my Fijian side here coming to watch the game, so I feel really excited.

“I had a brief catch-up with my dad on my way to Suva from Nadi, but we have yet to talk about the rugby side.

“My message to my family here in Fiji is please, support me and don’t go against me.”

Physical encounter

Maori All Blacks head coach Clayton McMillan is anticipating a tough and physical encounter.

“Most our players have Super Rugby experiences, which will be valuable for us. And five of the players will be making their debut, which is going to be proud moment for them,” McMillian said.

“Isaia has all the reasons to be proud and excited to represent the Maori All Blacks and at the same time have supporters from both sides of the camp. So, this will encourage him to play well.

“The Fijians have a good side and we feel proud of the challenge.”

Line-up:

1. Ross Wright, 2 Ash Dixion ©, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 4 Isaia Walker Leawere, 5 Tom Franklin 6 Reed Prinsen 7 Mitch Karpick, 8 Akira Ioane, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 10 Otere Black, 11 Sean Wainui, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 13 Rob Thompson, 14 Shaun Stevenson, 15 Fletcher Smith.

RESERVES: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Haereiti Hetet 18 Marcel Renata 19 Pari Pari Parkinson 20 Whetukamokamo Douglas 21 Bryn Hall 22 Alex Nankivell 23 Jordan Hyland.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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