Leicester winger Nemani Nadolo is looking forward to monitoring the progress of his Australian cousin Duane Ratu Willemsen after the 20-year-old signed a three-year senior academy deal with Gallagher Premiership rivals Northampton last month.

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Willemsen is a 6ft 6in, 128kg forward who represented New South Wales at age-group level in both rugby union and basketball and most recently enjoyed a stint in rugby league with the NRL’s St George Illawarra Dragons.

He has now returned to union, touching down in England and beginning training at Northampton after observing a quarantine period, and Nadolo, a two-try scorer against the Saints in last weekend’s Premiership derby, can’t wait to see how his cousin develops under the tutelage of Chris Boyd.  

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England pair Shaunagh Brown and Dan Norton guest on the latest RugbyPass Offload

“He has got a British passport, which I guess is handy to have, and it is an opportunity that has come up and he has taken it,” explained Nadolo, who is 13 years older than Willemsen, a signing Northampton confirmed on April 8.  

“He is young enough to experiment with this journey he is going down. He’s a young kid who hasn’t played too much rugby but it’s not a bad place to learn the trade over here. I have always said English rugby is high up there.

“If you have got them in your ear and you are eligible and you can do all that, it would be silly not to look into it. I guess the way Australian rugby is going at the moment there is probably not too many opportunities there with the clubs and covid. 

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“Covid plays a big part so for me it’s a no-brainer for him to come from rugby league. Good on him. They have signed him for three years so that would be more than enough time to hopefully see him in the Saints jersey, just not against us though.”

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