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Naulia Here For Fiji

Ireland based- Vodafone Flying Fijian blindside flanker, Naulia Dawai is excited but yet knows of the tough challenge to be part of John McKee’s team for the June Test matches.
31 May 2017 11:12
Naulia Here For Fiji
Flying Fijian flanker Naulia Dawai carrying his daughter Adi Ana, his mum Vatanieli Dawai with his uncle Tui Nadi Ratu Vuniyani Navuniuci at the Nadi International Airport yesterday. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

Ireland based- Vodafone Flying Fijian blindside flanker, Naulia Dawai is excited but yet knows of the tough challenge to be part of John McKee’s team for the June Test matches.

The 29-year-old who plays for Connacht arrived into the country yesterday morning along with some Europe based-players to prepare for the upcoming Test matches and the 2019 Rugby World Cup qualifiers in July.

“I’m happy to be part of the squad once again,” he told SUNsports.

“I will try to prove myself and secure a spot in the team that will be travelling to Australia. I will take whatever opportunity that comes my way,” the Narewa, Nadi native said.

“It’s tough and a big challenge for us when we play the Wallabies first then followed by Italy and Scotland who are playing in the Six Nations. Then we’ve got Tonga and Samoa in the RWC qualifiers and that will be interesting.”

For Dawai to make the side he has to compete against the likes of Rio Olympic gold medallist, Viliame Mata, Flying Fijian skipper Akapusi Qera, and the versatile Leone Nakarawa.

“There are a lot of flankers, good and senior players as well but I’ll try to get a spot as well and to make the starting line-up.

“It has been a proud moment for me, my family and the whole of my village when I made it to the Fiji team. I will take each day as it comes and hope to make the team once again.”

In June last year, Dawai was called up for Pacific Nations Cup as a late replacement for Dominiko Waqaniburotu. Dawai made his Test debut against Tonga, and has earned five Test caps.

In October, 2016 he signed a two-year deal with Connacht and joined them at the end of the NZ provincial championship.

He made his debut for Connacht in the 2016/17 European Rugby Champions Cup against Wasps scoring a try in the dying minutes which led to a conversion by Jack Carty which won them the match.

“Our season has been over and it was tough to settle into their environment, the change in rugby styles. My aim was just to get the feel of everything and come next season we will know what to expect.”

Tui Nadi Ratu Vuniyani Navuniuci said he was proud of his nephew whose aim is to don the national jumper once again and continue on the tradition.

“It is a good thing for him to showcase what he learnt from Ireland. He has been part of Fiji team last year and he is the first of our family since the days of former national centre Orisi Dawai and Joe Levula. Naulia, is the first after a very long time.”

The team march into camp in Suva today.



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