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McKee Reject Stars

Two players who could not make the cut for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians at the 2019 Rugby World Cup impress in the opening round of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby in England.
25 Oct 2019 14:00
McKee Reject Stars
Albert Tuisue and Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Two players who could not make the cut for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians at the 2019 Rugby World Cup impress in the opening round of the Gallagher Premiership Rugby in England.

Taqele Naiyaravoro and Albert Tuisue played a power game defying the odds for Northampton Saints and London Irish Exiles respectively over the weekend.

Tuisue’s was a surprise omission from the RWC squad after coach John McKee opted for Tevita Ratuva.

Naiyaravoro who had played twice for the Australian Wallabies was eligible to play for Fiji at the World Cup, if he had played for the Fijian 7s team in the 2018/19 London and France tournaments.

But he was not selected as the Fijians won both tournaments to scoop the HSBC World Sevens Series title.

Naiyaravoro has extended his contract at Franklin’s Gardens for two more seasons after a dominant showing in the 27-25 win over defending champions Saracens on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Yasawa, Ba native continued where he left off last season mesmerising his opponents with his immense ball-carrying ability.

Dubbed Big T, he made he made 28 appearances in an explosive debut season scoring 11 tries, making more metres and clean breaks than any other player in the Gallagher Premiership.

Albert Tuisue

Albert Tuisue.

Naiyaravoro said: “I’m over the moon to be signing on again with Saints,” he said.

“I’m very happy here in Northampton and the progress the squad has made over the last 12 months is really exciting.

“My family have settled well in Northampton and we feel very much at home here.

“It’s amazing to think I have at least another two years ahead of me here at Franklin’s Gardens. I just hope I can repay all the faith the club’s loyal supporters have shown in me with more good performances, plenty of tries, and hopefully some more trophies.”

Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd said: “I’m thrilled that Taqele has re-signed with Saints – although no doubt there will be a few opposition defenders in the Premiership who won’t be so happy about the news.

“It’s no secret that ‘Big T’ is a huge asset for us; his ball-carrying ability is almost second to none.”

Naiyaravoro was to play in either the London or Paris leg of the 2018-19 World Sevens Series to be eligible for the Flying Fijians after playing one-off test for Australia in 2015.

Tuisue and the Exiles made a grand debut in the Premiership with a 29-26 win over Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.

Taqele Naiyaravoro

Taqele Naiyaravoro.

Playing at No.8 for 80 minutes, the Kadavu native gained good yards and was a tower in defence.

Exiles director of rugby Declan Kidney praised the heroic defence and Tuisue for scoring from a lineout move.

Tuisue’s was a surprise omission from the RWC squad after coach John McKee opted for Tevita Ratuva.

Tuisue’s Exiles will play Sale Sharks while the Saints face Worcester Warriors this weekend.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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