October 12, 2021
Veteran winger Nemani Nadolo is aiming to represent Flying Fijians in the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after coming out of retirement earlier this year.
The 33-year-old Leicester powerhouse believes the arrival of his son Ethan has “relit the fire” and admits playing international rugby with the quarantine restrictions imposed by the pandemic has been tough to deal with.
But he is committed to helping Fiji in the autumn test even if that means more time confined to a hotel room.
Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter, who has worked with Nadolo, convinced him to come out of international retirement.
“I have a young son who is a year and half old and the quarantine has been tough. We have done (with Fiji) the equivalent of two months quarantine on international duty and how do you get up for it? There are some days you just want to pack it in and go home but my motivation is my family and knowing I am here for a reason and to be strong," he told RugbyPass.
“I had this conversation with my wife the other day and once my son was born a lot changed and the drive and motivation is higher and I feel like I want to give more and the culture we are building at Leicester makes you want to come into training. I guess the fire has been relit and these are exciting times.”
“Coming back to the Fiji team I made the decision to try and go all the way to 2023 but in my position, there is no shortage of wings in Fiji. I am fully committed and if my body holds up and I play good rugby I don’t see why not.”
“It is the new normal to do the quarantine and the guys who get picked in the Autumn, that is one of the things they are going to have to think about beforehand because you are going to be away from your family for a long time. I have heard stories of guys who have missed the birth of their child and have been on tours where players have lost parents when they have been in lockdown. It is tough and it is a lot to take in and in the old days it was great to go to nice hotels but they can now become jails.”
“In the Fiji squad, when we do face trials we are all pretty close and there is a sense of gratefulness to be able to represent your country. Logistically, it will be easier for the guys over here on the European tour but it only takes one positive case and you are locked in. Some players will have serious things to think about before coming on the tour.”
Nadolo has helped Leicester win their opening four Premiership games of the season for the first time in 20 years and they go into next weekend’s game with Worcester at the top of the table.
By Romeka Romena