Friday 28 October 2016

Pat Lam: Connacht's new Fijian signing has the X-Factor

David Smith

Published 12/10/2016 | 12:59

Connacht have announced the signing of Fijian-born back row forward Naulia Dawai on a two-year deal.

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The 29-year-old was capped for Fiji in June 2016, and has joined the province from NPC side Otago in New Zealand.

The former Southland back row announced his delight about the deal. Speaking on the Connacht website from New Zealand, he said:

“I’m extremely excited to get to Ireland and take up this wonderful opportunity with Connacht Rugby. It will be my first time in Ireland and indeed Europe but it’s a challenge I am really looking forward to.

“From speaking to Pat (Lam) and watching the Connacht games, I am excited by the type of rugby being played and I hope I can come over and add something as well.

I’d like to thank all the coaches at Otago and particularly Cory (Brown). I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity for myself and my family.”

Connacht manager Pat Lam also expressed his excitement at the move, and has given Connacht fans an insight into what Dawai can bring to the province.

“Naulia is an exciting addition to the Connacht Rugby squad as he brings X-factor to our hard-working forward pack" he said.

"He can play across the back row, which is a great boost to our options up front and also provides vital depth and competition in those positions.

“We were really impressed with the rugby Naulia’s been playing in the NPC and also with the Fiji national side during the summer. When Otago Head coach and good friend Cory Brown (a former coach at Connacht) confirmed to me Naulia’s work ethic and ability on and off the field, we were very pleased to secure him for Connacht Rugby.

“We’re all looking forward to welcoming Naulia and his family to Connacht in the next few weeks and bringing him up to speed on everything on and off the pitch.”

In September 2015, the Fiji international scored three tries against Auckland, becoming only the fourth player in NPC history to score a hat trick at Eden Park.

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