March 12, 2021
Former Hull F.C and Flying Fijian winger Ratu Siva Naulago have impressed Bristol Bears boss Pat Lam by giving a firing performance in recent weeks for the current Gallagher Premiership leaders.
The 29-year-old, who was signed last year from Super League outfit Hull, was sent for some additional union tuition just last month.
Naulago had scored just one try in his initial four Premiership starts, an exposure that culminated in the Bristol defeat by Sale in early February.
Ever since assistant coach Conor McPhillips tuition him about elite-level rugby union compared to league, Naulago has hit top form.
He scored twice at London Irish and while he recorded a blank in his next outing against Leicester, he was unstoppable last weekend at Worcester, running in a try hat-trick to take his tally to five tries in his last three matches and six in all over the course of seven Premiership appearances.
At the age of 20, Naulago was recruited in the British Army and has seen active duty in Afghanistan.
Lam can’t wait to see the latest exploits of Fijian unfold for the bear’s tonight league game at home against the Wasps.
“I had that in my notes. I went ‘that’s good’ and then he also says, ‘I should have let that ball bounce’. He is just thinking about how to get better. He is military, he’s army and he is so fit. Sometimes guys can be really quick but when you look at him afterward, he looks like he can keep going with his work rate."
“There was a time in the game where Billy Searle kicked the ball back to the corner where there was space. Siva read it perfectly. He just saw it and got back, caught the ball, whereas when he first came he wasn’t thinking about those things, a lot of positional stuff and where he is going," he said.
“It worked a treat. It’s like in the army, get on the front line, go and do this and it’s ‘yes sir’. That is what he is like. He’s there, ‘Tell me what you want me to do and I will go and do it. He is a real breath of fresh air and he’s rapid. It’s very rare that you get rapid and strong."
“Obviously he is very close to Semi (Radradra) and we sort of saw touches like when he played against Exeter he played well. Semi was talking to him the whole time but after Semi got injured in the Bath game, in the Sale game we realised how much impact Semi has on Siva because he got caught out in position a few times," Lam added.
By Romeka Romena