Rugby

Captain Nakarawa: It’s A Big Challenge

Known on the field with his offloads and attacking prowess Nakarawa said it’s the importance of getting the basics right as they build up a strong combination for the Rugby World Cup in September.
02 Aug 2019 12:29
Captain Nakarawa: It’s A Big Challenge
From left: Canada captain Tyler Ardron and his Fiji Airways Flying Fijians counterpart Leone Nakarawa during the captain’s photo shoot at the ANZ Stadium, Suva on August 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Big lock forward Leone Nakarawa had mixed feelings when he was told to captain the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians in tomorrow’s Pacific Nations Cup clash against Canada at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

The Mokoisa, Tavuki, Kadavu native takes over from Dominiko Waqaniburotu who is rested after playing in three consecutive matches.

“When I was told to lead the team, I was excited and at the same time nervous because this is the first time for me to lead, it’s a big challenge,” the Fijian Olympian said.

Also making their return to the Flying Fijians line-up are centre Semi Radradra and robust winger Eroni Sau. On the bench are tireless lock Tevita Cavubati and wily halfback Nikola Matawalu.

Nakarawa said it would not be an easy task, but he is grateful to have professional players who know their individual responsibility.

“I want to give the honour and glory back to God. I know it’s not an easy responsibility to lead, but I want to thank the coach for believing in me to lead the Flying Fijians team.

“We are professional players; all individuals know their responsibility which makes things easy for me this Saturday.”

Known on the field with his offloads and attacking prowess Nakarawa said it’s the importance of getting the basics right as they build up a strong combination for the Rugby World Cup in September.

“If we work on the small things, big things will just take care of itself.

“It’s about details, studying our opposition, positions on the field, listening to the coaches about what they want you to do and all the basics stuff in rugby like defence and attack.

“Get the basics right. If we improve on the basics, the bigger things will just take care of itself.

“There’s a good mix we have old and young boys and this is a good experience for our young players since they will be future Flying Fijians.

“We are trying to plan well and get strengthen our team bond.”

If he makes the final team Nakarawa will be playing in his third Rugby World Cup.

Nakarawa said they were not going to underestimate the Canadians.

Flying Fijians head coach John McKee rates Nakarawa as a good leader.

“Nakarawa is a leader by example and is one of our most influential players.

“With the captaincy he takes some responsibility and it’s really important that he keeps a clear head during the game time and has influential words with the players at critical times to ensure they maintain their focus,” McKee said.

The match kicks-off at 5.15pm.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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