Giant wing Taquele Naiyaravoro says he would happily switch allegiances to Fiji for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, if such a move was available to him.
The 6 foot 4, 19 stone wing was capped twice by the Wallabies in 2015 and 2016, but has been in the international wilderness since moving to Europe.
Now at Northampton Saints, Naiyaravoro says his heart lies with Fiji and not Australia. In fact he played Rugby League for Fiji before switching from the West Tigers in the NRL to the Waratahs in Super Rugby in 2014. After stints with Glasgow Warriors (2015-16) and the Panasonic Wild Knights (2016-17), the giant wing is now enjoying life in Northampton.
In an interview with the Daily Mail’s Nik Simon, Naiyaravoro said he would ‘100 perc cent’ play for Fiji.
‘I’m 28 and I’ve still got the best years ahead of me, so the opportunity to play for Fiji would be a dream come true,’ he told Sportsmail.
‘I have no regrets about playing for Australia. I was pretty young at the time when the opportunity came along and I went for it.
‘But Fiji has always been in my heart. It’s where I was born. When I left Fiji for Australia, my dream was to play for Fiji. I would 100 per cent commit to Fiji if that opportunity came along.’
His performances in club rugby and within the Barbarians squad in 2015 earned him a place on the international stage, as he was selected by Australia and scored with his first touch for the Wallabies in a one-off Test against the USA.
Good form saw Naiyaravoro named in the Australia squad to face England in 2016 – coming on in the final Test to score against a Red Rose side containing future Saints teammates Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Teimana Harrison and Paul Hill.
Naiyaravoro was selected for the Barbarians again during the 2016 end-of-year internationals, starting against South Africa and scoring a try while setting up two more in a man-of-the-match performance, before featuring for the famous touring side again in a one-off match against England in 2019 following a stellar first season with Saints.
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