Rugby

Saturday 2 August 2014

Conor George: Sport is entertainment, and few have entertained as well as Nacewa

Published 20/03/2013|12:25

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THE enduring excellence of Isa Nacewa is cause for celebration. There surely is no sight more exciting on a rugby field than Nacewa in full flight, ball under his left arm, hair blowing back in the wind because of his speed and the opposition try line at his mercy.

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The news that he is to leave Leinster and retire at the end of the season from professional rugby for personal reasons has, predictably, sent a shock wave through supporters. And with good cause, it must be said.

Thirty years of age is young, and he could surely continue at the very top for another four years.

Leinster, we have been told, spent a number of months trying to persuade him to postpone his decision to no avail. But instead of bemoaning his departure it is only right and proper to rejoice in the memories that will live on after his retirement.

His genius is beyond compare. Since joining Leinster in 2008 the puzzlement for those of us observing from outside the tight, united camp that is the Leinster squad was shared by those directing Leinster’s fortunes - how to best to get the most from such a talent who excels at out-haf, at full back and on the wing.

There never was a player without weakness but Nacewa’s many talents outweigh considerably any perceived shortcoming in his game. How can you not have total admiration for a player capable of scoring 375 points in 116 matches since joining Leinster?

When we reflect of his time in Leinster’s blue uniform the 2010/11 season will surely be a highlight. During that season he played in all nine Heineken Cup games, scored three tries and was outstanding in the final against Northampton Saints.

His excellence was rewarded by his winning the Leinster Player of the Year award, the Irish Rugby Union Players' Association (IRUPA) as well as being chosen as full-back on the 'PRO12 Dream Team' for 2011 and was shortlised for the ERC European Player of the Year.

Sport, in essence, is an entertainment. This generation was fortunate to have such outstanding a sportsman as Isa Nacewa operating in our midst. Instead of lamenting his retirement surely it would be far more appropriate to rejoice in the moments of joy he orchestrated.

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