Guinness PRO12: Taqele Naiyaravoro heading to Glasgow Warriors
Scottish club sign powerful Fijian winger despite lure of an international rugby career with Australia
Glasgow Warriors have confirmed the signing of Fijian winger Taqele Naiyaravoro from Super Rugby franchise New South Wales Waratahs on a three-year deal.
The 23-year-old will join the Guinness PRO12 semi-finalists in the summer, subject to a visa and medical, despite Waratahs chief executive Greg Harris telling Australian media last week that the winger had agreed a contract with Edinburgh Rugby.
It will be a new challenge for me to play in the Guinness PRO12 and compete against the best sides in Europe in the Champions Cup.
Boasting a 6ft 5in, 19-stone frame, Naiyaravoro has been compared to All Blacks rampager Jonah Lomu, but Suva-born man has dismissed those claims in recent weeks.
Despite the lure of international rugby, Naiyaravoro is excited to take his young family to Scotland to challenge himself in the PRO12 and European Champions Cup.
“Glasgow have been talking to me for a while and opened the door for me, so I’m happy to have signed a long-term contract with the club,” Naiyaravoro said.
“I’m looking forward to moving to Glasgow with my family to continue my development.
“They are a strong team and it’s really exciting to get the opportunity to move over there and play my rugby in Scotland next season.
“It’s been great playing with the likes of Adam Ashley-Cooper and Kurtley Beale at the Waratahs this season. They’ve been really helpful and I’ve learnt a lot from them.
“It will be a new challenge for me to play in the Guinness PRO12 and compete against the best sides in Europe in the Champions Cup.”
Naiyaravoro has played just 15 times for the Waratahs since joining the Super Rugby franchise 12 months ago, scoring six tries, including a bulldozing effort from 40 metres out against Western Force earlier this season.
His sheer size and strength will give us another option in our back-line and I’m sure he will be an excellent addition to our squad.
A giant former rugby league star, who plays on the wing or at centre in union, he will head to the west of Scotland at the conclusion of the 2015 Super Rugby season, despite being linked to a call up to Michael Cheika’s Australia squad ahead of the Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup with Harris claiming that the player could stay in Australia if he makes the Wallabies cut.
Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend, who was named coach of the season after guiding the club to the top of the PRO12 ahead of the play-offs, believes that Naiyaravoro will be a great addition to the club with record try-scorer DTH van der Merwe, wing/full-back Sean Maitland, and Fijian scrum-half Niko Matawalu all heading for pastures new this summer.
“Taqele is a very exciting signing for our club,” Townsend said.
“We’ve been tracking him for a number of months and we know there has been a lot of speculation about his future, so we’re delighted that we can finally announce that he will become a Glasgow Warriors player in the summer.
“Taqele has made a real impact since joining the Waratahs last season and has the potential to become one of the best wingers in the Guinness PRO12.
“His sheer size and strength will give us another option in our back-line and I’m sure he will be an excellent addition to our squad.
“He has a great attitude and desire to work and improve and we’d like to thank Scottish Rugby for their support in securing a player of Taqele’s quality.
“We look forward to him joining us at the end of the season and we know he’ll be with us regardless of any international commitments.”