Rugby | SPORTS

Nawaqanitawase Named In Wallaby Squad

The five uncapped players include Melbourne Rebels prop Sam Talakai and NSW pair Ben Donaldson and Mark Nawaqanitawase named as members of the Wallabies squad for the first time.
19 Oct 2022 16:53
Nawaqanitawase Named In Wallaby Squad
Mark Nawaqanitawase Photo: NSW Waratahs

Australia born and originally from Nalebaleba, Bemana, Nadroga Mark (Tai Ma) Nawaqanitawase, 22, is one of the five uncapped players Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has named in his 36-man squad for the upcoming End of Year Tour.

On the tour Wallabies will take on five northern hemisphere nations, including the current top-two ranked sides in the world France and Ireland.

The five uncapped players include Melbourne Rebels prop Sam Talakai and NSW pair Ben Donaldson and Mark Nawaqanitawase named as members of the Wallabies squad for the first time.

 

Donaldson and Nawaqanitawase impressed in the Australia A programme in Fiji and Japan, along- side Jock Campbell and Langi Gleeson who are the other two players who could potentially debut in Europe.

Meanwhile, Mark’s father Sevuloni Nawaqanitawase Senior had moved to Sydney in 1991 to play rugby league for the Balmain Tigers.

Nawaqanitawase comes from the Tuisorisori sporting family which his paternal grandfather Marika (his namesake) is the eldest. Marika senior is the older brother of pioneering women sprint champion Paris, France based Miriama Tuisorisori Chambault.

 

Back in 2020, the then 19-year-old Junior Wallabies representative, Nawaqanitawake announced him- self in senior ranks with an eye catching display in the Waratahs 40-21 trial win over the Highlanders in Sydney.

Waratahs coach Rob Penney, called him a “gem” roped him in for selection in the opening round of Super Rugby and he has been in the running in team since.

He was one of the top performers for the Waratahs in the Super Rugby Pacific.

 

He was a member of the Australia A side during the Pacific Nations Cup that included Samoa, Tonga and Fiji hosted by the latter in July in Suva and Lautoka.

Playing against fellow Fijians in the Super Rugby Pacific and Pacific Cup were great experience for Nawaqanitawase. He indicated it was always a challenge when it came to Fijian players.

“It’s special,” Nawaqanitawase said.

“I know couple of the players from the Drua team and I am closely related to Jone Koroiduadua. It’s also always funny how they come for you. Always tough against them – knowing how good they are.

 

Koroiduadua and Nawaqanitawase’s grandfathers are first cousins.

  • Wallaby squad summary: Total Test caps: 936, Average Test caps: 25, Average age: 27
  • Uncapped players: 5 (Jock Campbell, Ben Donaldson, Langi Gleeson, Mark Nawaqanitawase, Sam Talakai)
  • Most capped: James Slipper (123 Tests)
  • Youngest member: Langi Gleeson, 21
  • Oldest member: Cadeyrn Neville, 33
  • Breakdown: Brumbies 13, NSW Waratahs 9, Queensland Reds 6, Melbourne Rebels 5, Western Force 1, Overseas clubs 2

 

Wallabies squad for the 2022 Spring Tour (age, team, Tests played):

Allan Alaalatoa (28, ACT Brumbies, 60 Tests), Tom Banks (28, ACT Brumbies, 20 Tests), Jock Campbell (27, Queensland Reds, uncapped), Ben Donaldson (23, NSW Waratahs, uncapped), Folau Fainga’a (27, ACT Brumbies, 33 Tests), Lalakai Foketi (27, NSW Waratahs, 4 Tests), Bernard Foley (32, Kubota Spears, 73 Tests), Matt Gibbon (27, Melbourne Rebels, 2 Tests), Nick Frost (23, ACT Brumbies, 5 Tests), Langi Gleeson (21, NSW Waratahs, uncapped), Jake Gordon (29, NSW Waratahs, 16 Tests), Ned Hanigan (27, NSW Waratahs, 25 Tests), Reece Hodge (28, Mel- bourne Rebels, 60 Tests), Jed Holloway (29, NSW Waratahs, 6 Tests), Michael Hooper (30, NSW Waratahs, 121 Tests), Len Ikitau (24, ACT Brumbies, 21 Tests), Andrew Kellaway (27, Melbourne Rebels, 18 Tests), Noah Lolesio (22, ACT Brumbies, 14 Tests), Lachlan Lonergan (23, ACT Brumbies, 6 Tests), Tate McDermott (23, Queensland Reds, 18 Tests), Fraser McReight (23, Queensland Reds, 8 Tests), Mark Nawaqanitawase (22, NSW Waratahs, uncapped), Cadeyrn Neville (33, ACT Brumbies, 3 Tests), Hunter Paisami (24, Queensland Reds, 20 Tests), Jordan Petaia (22, Queensland Reds, 22 Tests), Matt Philip (28, Melbourne Rebels, 27 Tests), David Porecki (29, NSW Waratahs, 7 Tests), Tom Robertson (28, Western Force, 27 Tests), Pete Samu (30, ACT Brumbies, 28 Tests), Will Skelton (30, Stade Rochelais, 21 Tests), James Slipper (c) (33, ACT Brumbies, 123 Tests), Sam Talakai (31, Melbourne Rebels, uncapped), Taniela Tupou (26, Queensland Reds, 43 Tests), Rob Valetini (24, ACT Brumbies, 27 Tests), Nic White (32, ACT Brumbies, 56 Tests), Tom Wright (25, ACT Brumbies, 18 Tests)

 

Spring Tour Fixtures:

Wallabies v Scotland, Sunday 30 October, 3:30am AEDT at BT Murrayfield, Edinburgh; Wallabies v France, Sunday 6 November, 7:00am AEDT at Stade de France, Paris; Wallabies v Italy, Sunday 13 November, 12:00am AEDT at Stadio Artemio Franchi, FlorenceWallabies v Ireland, Sunday 20 November, 7:00am AEDT at Aviva Stadium, Dublin Wallabies v Wales, Sunday 27 November, 2:15am AEDT at Principality Stadium, Cardiff.

 

Feedback: karalaini.waqanidrola@fijisun.com.fj



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