Fiji bring in 'monster' to torment Nations Cup opponents
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Nemani Nadolo was a surprise inclusion in the Fiji squad named Monday for the Nations Cup after new coach Vern Cotter coaxed the blockbusting wing out of international retirement.
Nadolo, 32, announced early last year he would no longer play Test rugby and did not participate in Fiji’s World Cup campaign, when the Pacific islanders failed to make the play-offs.
But he had a change of heart after Fiji Rugby this year appointed New Zealander Cotter, who mentored Nadolo during a successful stint at Montpellier.
Cotter said the pair have “a strong relationship”.
“He has assured me that he is playing well and he really wants to play,” he said.
“We feel he’s motivated and Nadolo motivated is a monster.”
Nadolo, currently at Leicester Tigers, has scored 19 tries for the Flying Fijians in 29 Test appearances.
He is an imposing physical presence at 1.95 metres (6’5″) tall and fans will be relishing the prospect of him linking up with strike weapons such as Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova.
The 32-man touring squad includes nine Fiji-based players, along with experienced professionals playing with European and Southern Hemisphere teams.
The Fijians will gather in camp later this month and play Portugal on November 6 as a warm-up for the Nations Cup, organised by the Six Nations to replace the traditional international Test window during the coronavirus pandemic.
They are in a pool with France, Italy and Scotland in the eight-nation tournament, which includes the usual Six Nations plus Fiji and Georgia.
Cotter’s team open their campaign against Les Bleus on November 25.
Backs: Frank Lomani, Peni Matawalu, Simione Kuruvoli, Ben Volavola, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, Lepani Botia, Serupepeli Vularika, Jale Vatubua, Waisea Nayacalevu, Semi Radradra, Nemani Nadolo, Josua Tuisova, Kini Murimurivalu.
Forwards: Eroni Mawi, Peni Ravai, Haereiti Hetet, Mesulame Dolokoto, Sam Matavesi, Tevita Ikanivere, Samuela Tawake, Mesake Doge, Jone Koroiduadua, Tevita Ratuva, Leone Nakarawa, Temo Mayanavanua, Chris Minimbi, Mesulame Kunavula, Kitione Kamikamica, Johnny Dyer, Albert Tuisue, Manueli Ratuniyarawa, Lekima Tagitagivalu.