Nakarawa Not Match Fit

Coach Dave Rennie couldn’t be definitive on when Fiji forward Nakarawa would be back in a Warriors jersey.
05 Jan 2020 13:16
Nakarawa Not Match Fit
Welcome back... Leone Nakarawa is back for Glasgow Warriors but not yet match ready. Photo: The Scotsman

In what has been a difficult season by recent standards for Glasgow Warriors, the confirmation on Thursday that Leone Nakarawa was returning to the club came as a timely boost. The Scotstoun faithful may have to wait a bit to see their old hero back in action, however.

On the day that Jonny Gray’s move to Exeter Chiefs in the summer was officially announced, meaning the core triumvirate of the lock, Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg will soon all be gone, outgoing coach Dave Rennie couldn’t be definitive on when Fiji forward Nakarawa would be back in a Warriors jersey.

The 31-year-old has signed until the end of the season following his sacking by Racing 92 for reporting back to the Paris club late following the World Cup last year. The Kiwi coach, who leaves himself to become Australia coach in the summer, said it will now be a case of assessing the 6ft 6in lock/No 8’s physical conditioning and how quickly he can assimilate back into the Warriors systems.

“He arrived on Thursday. He had a few issues around planes and cyclones in Fiji. But he’s arrived and he looks in pretty good nick,” said Rennie, who travelled to Italy with his squad without the Fijian yesterday for this afternoon’s Guinness Pro14 match against Benetton in Treviso.

“We’ll start getting him back into things. Once we get clarity on where he’s at physically, we’ll start making decisions around that.

“We don’t envisage that being too much of a problem for him. We’ll test him on Monday and get some clarity on where he’s at.”

Asked if he could be available for next week’s crunch Heineken Champions Cup match at home to Exeter, Rennie replied: “Potentially not. Obviously we’ve got a little bit of loyalty to the guys we’ve got there, too, in the second row and loose forwards. He was listed in Racing’s European squad but never stripped so we could name him in ours, yes.

“We’ll see how things are after this weekend. If you get a couple of injuries, that can obviously change the picture a little bit. The first thing is we need to make sure he’s ready to go.

“He’s got a lot to learn in terms of our lineouts and his role within the structures. But he’s a smart man and we think he’ll be able to slot in seamlessly.”

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