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No-Game Nakarawa In Doubt

Nakarawa returned home for the lockdown and was then granted extra leave because of the birth of his first child, before his return was further delayed by a family bereavement
30 Sep 2020 08:43
No-Game Nakarawa In Doubt
Leone Nakarawa.

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians lock forward Leone Nakarawa is back in Scotland ahead of the Guinness PRO14 kick-off which kicks off on Saturday.

But the Mokoisa, Kadavu native is unlikely to be available for Glasgow until December.

And it would be interesting if Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter would name him in his Autumn Nations Cup squad as he would not be getting any game time ahead of the first match-up against France on November 15.

Nakarawa returned home for the lockdown and was then granted extra leave because of the birth of his first child, before his return was further delayed by a family bereavement.

The 32-year-old, who was sacked by Racing 92 following his late return from the Rugby World Cup last year, has now returned from Fiji but COVID-19 rules mean he will be unavailable for Glasgow’s opening two matches.

Like many of his Warriors teammates including Nikola Matawalu and Mesulame Dolokoto, he is then likely to be involved in the extended Autumn Nations Cup series, with Fiji set to face Scotland at BT Murrayfield in their penultimate contest on November 28.

Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson told PA news agency: “He is back in the country. Obviously he had a lot to deal with and we were very understanding about the situation. He’s back but goes into isolation for a couple of weeks. So by the time he comes out of isolation he will probably be joining the Fiji camp.

“So I don’t think we will see much of him now until he comes back from the Fiji camp.”

Cotter is closely monitoring Europe-based players including Edinburgh-based Viliame Mata, Lee Roy Atalifo, Eroni Sau and Mesulame Kunavula who could also operate on the back five.

Glasgow starts their season away to Connacht on Saturday and then host Scarlets before Wilson sees his squad decimated by international call-ups.

“We’ve got that group available to us for the first two matches, the majority of them, then we will probably lose about 15 players for a long period of time, which is not something we planned for,” the former Scotland assistant coach said.

“But the knock-on effect means it will be a tough period for the squad in both Edinburgh and Glasgow, because we will lose a lot of players.”

The option available to Cotter is to allow Nakarawa to stay with the Warriors to get more game in the PR0 14 competition in time for the game against the Scots on September 28. Despite his experience having played in three RWC (2011, 2015, 2019), it would be risky for him to front up against France, Italy and Scotland internationals many of whom are in involved in Top 14, Gallagher Premiership Rugby, PRO14 and Six Nations tournaments.

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