January 16, 2018
Giant Flying Fijians winger Nemani Nadolo hopes to open a "smoking truck" in France after cooking up a storm for his Montpellier teammates in the weekend.
The 29-year-old who weighs and stands at 1.94m told the Daily Mail he had "smoked two sheep" at a post-training barbecue in the southern French city earlier this season.
"I had to juggle it with training. I took my kit [two large grills] to the stadium and would train, then quickly rush up to get it burning, go to the gym, finish a set and go straight back upstairs. I had to feed 30 blokes. Maybe I should start charging - £10 a head!"
The former Crusaders rep said food is his biggest interest and described himself as "the big guy on the wing".
"One day I dream I will open a smoking truck. In the summer they have food markets here down by the coast — I would love to sell brisket and ribs. My wife makes some salad as decoration for the table — I don't eat it!.”
"A few vegans won't be happy, but you can't impress them all, can you?."
Speaking before he scored a try in Montpellier's 41-10 European Champions Cup defeat to the Exeter Chiefs, Nadolo told the Mail that football was his first love during his Brisbane boyhood.
He was a Leeds United fan after his mum bought him a $5 Leeds replica jersey from a Salvation Army store. His hero was Leeds' Australian striker Mark Viduka.
Nadolo - whose father was a Queensland rugby representative - gave up football when he "got too big" as a 1.83m 13-year-old.
But he said the "coaches said I was too big" and was overlooked by Australia's Super Rugby franchises.
"I didn't suit the mould of what they wanted back then. I was a big softie at school. If you poked me I would probably cry as a kid."
Nadolo had spells as a concrete worker, a real estate receptionist and an asbestos remover before he got his pro rugby break with Bourgoin, leaving when the French club failed to pay him.
He had four games for Exeter but was released after a drinking driving conviction before moving to Japan for three seasons with the Green Rockets until Todd Blackadder signed him for the Crusaders in 2013.
Nadolo became a crowd favourite in Christchurch with 27 tries in 40 matches before he left for Montpellier in 2016.
He has also won 28 caps for Fiji, starring for his birth nation at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
By Reginald Chandar