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Nanai chat helps convince Faiva to become fifth Worcester signing

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Worcester boss Steve Diamond has made Italy hooker Hame Faiva his fifth new signing for the 2022/23 season. The 27-year-old will arrive at Sixways from Treviso-based Benetton on a two-year contract having joined the United Rugby Championship side five years ago from Blues in his native New Zealand.

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Faiva qualified to play for Italy through residency and made a try-scoring debut in the win over Uruguay in Parma in November before playing three times in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, most memorably getting red-carded versus Ireland. “I have a vision of what Worcester’s pack will look like in twelve months’ time,” said Diamond to the Worcester club website.

“The top sides in the Premiership have two packs of forwards, Hame and Curtis Langdon will compete for the hooker spot. Hame is a very aggressive and mobile hooker who has impressed me. His work rate is exceptional and he has an abrasiveness about him that rubs off on fellow players.”

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Faiva, who is 5ft 11ins and weighs 17 stone, played for Counties Manukau and Waikato before a season in Super Rugby with Auckland-based Blues in 2017. He represented New Zealand U20s in the 2013 and 2014 IRB Junior World Championship and then played for Italy A against Spain in Madrid last October.

Before agreeing to his move to Sixways, Faiva spoke to Warriors full-back Melani Nanai, a former teammate at Blues. “I’d a good chat with Melani and he gave me a good low down on the club. He said that the club is really awesome and professional,” he said.

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“It’s not just the rugby side but also the rehab and recovery facilities at Sixways which is a really big plus for me. Getting my body right to play week in and week out is a very important area for me. I have always wanted to experience the Gallagher Premiership. I have heard a lot about it and in New Zealand, a lot is talked about the quality of rugby that is played and how tough the competition is.

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“Now I have got the opportunity to be part of it with Warriors and I’m really excited for the new challenge. I’ve had a few Zoom meetings with Steve Diamond and what he said about the club and where he wants to take it made me really interested in the opportunity.

“I want to help him build the club and make it one that qualifies for the Heineken Champions Cup. One of the big positives is that I can continue playing for Italy. Italy is my home away from home now and I have a lot of friends here who I want to continue playing with and representing Italy.”

Faiva follows Sale hooker Langdon and flanker Cameron Neild and the Western Force pair of lock Fergus Lee-Warner and Argentina international tighthead prop Santiago Medrano in signing for Worcester for next season.

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