Conjecture surrounding where Racing secondrow Leone Nakawara will end up playing his rugby is mounting following an appearance by the forward in the UK.
Nakarawa was named EPCR European Player of the Year last week, with the big Fijian lock helping Racing 92 to reach the Champions Cup final in which they were narrowly defeated by Leinster at Bilbao’s San Mamés Stadium.
In recent weeks it has been rumoured that the Fijian is not happy at the Parisian giants and is seeking to move back to the UK, with two clubs having been linked with the formidable lock.
The Scotsman are reporting that he is unhappy at the club despite the side’s superstar status in Europe and is eager to return to Glasgow Warriors.
Adding to those rumours, he was spotted at Glasgow’s Pro14 semi-final match with Scarlets in Scotstoun on Friday night. However, the Warriors may not be able to compete with salaries on offer elsewhere. The Scotsman report that he is currently on £380,000 at Racing, a figure that Glasgow may not be able to stretch to.
He has also been linked with a move to Northampton Saints. Saints last week added England veteran James Haskell to their books but may well be interested in signing a player as versatile as Nakawara, who is equally adept in the backrow as at lock.
Saints have announced the departure of 17 players, including a number of back five forwards.
RugbyPass revealed him as our choice for the world best player in 2017 and he remains one of the game’s most potent attacking weapons.
Racing 92 teammate Ryan opened up to RugbyPass about the friendly Fijian before their final with Leinster in Bilbao.
“He’ll greet you every morning with a big hug, which is very unusual but is absolutely incredible, he’d put a smile on your face.”
“You see these guys and how talented they are and (wonder) what is their work ethic and you see them train and how hard they train, like Leone and Yannick (Nyanga). You see how hard they train, and that does give you that confirmation in your head that it does take hard work to get to the level that these guys are and Leone does work really hard.”
Prior to the final, he topped the Champions Cup offloading charts with 20, and it’s something that has massively impressed Ryan.
“It is great with GPS in the club that you are able to give yourself that barometer alongside him, that you are able to challenge yourself alongside him every day. Unfortunately I don’t have octopus hands, that he is able to do fastastic offloads!”
“He’s exciting to play alongside, very, very positive, always trying to do something new. It’s different second row partner to what I’ve had but something I’m enjoying it a lot.”
“I love to get challenged everyday so I’m coming into work skipping going in every day. I leave Leone to do the off-loading stuff.
And Ryan quipped that the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in Seven’s likes to show off his prize.
“Sometimes he does like to walk into the changing room with his top off and with his Olympic gold medal on his chest!”
The 30-year-old Fijian has been with Racing since 2016, joining the French side after three years with Glasgow Warriors.
On top of his 47 appearances for his native Fiji, the athletic lock is also an Olympic gold medal winner, scoring a try in the 2016 Summer Olympics gold medal match against Great Britain.
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