May 16, 2021
Former Otago and New England Free Jack forward and Nadi rugby captain, Napolioni Naulia Dawai has signed with the Seattle Seawolves in the America’s Major Rugby League (MLR) competition.
The Narewa Nadi native started playing rugby at a young age and in 2011 he attended Marist Brothers High School before moving to New Zealand where he played club rugby for Southland.
Strong performances there earned him a spot on the 2013 National Provincial Championship side.
Dawai stayed in New Zealand but moved on to play for Otago in 2014 where he progressed from a substitute to a consistent starter through 2015.
He was capped for the Flying Fijians in 2016 after being called up for the Pacific Nations Cup and one-off match with Georgia.
Following an impressive showing for Fiji, Dawai signed a two-year deal with Connacht in Ireland and made his debut against the Wasps, scoring a last minute try to help steal the victory.
The loose forward made 22 appearances across two seasons with Connacht before returning to Otago in New Zealand.
Dawai was a member of the Asia Pacific Dragons side that participated in the Global Rapid Rugby ‘showcase series’ in 2019 and shifted to Major League Rugby with the New England Free Jacks for the 2020 season.
He made five appearances for the Free Jacks before the 2020 season was cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Ready to make another splash in MLR, the young man joins Seattle for the remainder of the 2021 season.
With the ability to play flanker or number eight, he brings power, pace, and an evasive step to the Seawolves’ forward pack.
“I’m stoked to be here,” said Dawai. “I want to thank the Lord for this blessing in my life. And I want to say a big Vinakavakalevu and thank you to Seattle for this opportunity to come to play and join the Seawolves family. I’m eager to get amongst it and give my best out there.”
He joins Andrew Durutalo, who is a Fijian-raised American-born professional rugby player who plays for the Seattle Seawolves also.
Durutalo has been capped by the U.S. national sevens team and the United States national rugby union team.
By Romeka Romena