Connacht sign Fijian back-rower Naulia Dawai

The New Zealand-based player has signed a two-year deal

BY Newstalk 13:15 Wednesday 12 October 2016, 13:15 12 Oct 2016

Naulia Dawai. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Photosport/Joe Allison

Connacht have announced the signing of Fijian back-row forward Naulia Dawai on a two year deal. The 29-year-old, who joins Connacht on the back of three seasons with NPC-side Otago in New Zealand, was capped for Fiji in June 2016, starting three tests against Tonga, Samoa and Georgia.

Born in Fiji, Dawai moved to New Zealand in 2011 to play club rugby with Southland. He played 7's with the provincial side before breaking into the 2013 ITM Cup team where he made nine appearances. A year later, he moved to Otago and emerged as a regular in the 2015 ITM Cup campaign. In September 2015, Dawai scored three tries against Auckland, becoming only the fourth player in NPC history to score a hat trick at Eden Park.

Head Coach Pat Lam added; "Naulia is an exciting addition to the Connacht Rugby squad as he brings X-factor to our hard-working forward pack. 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."

Speaking from New Zealand, Naulia 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."

Naulia will join six New Zealanders, who are already in the Connacht squad. He becomes the sole Fijian in the team.

 

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