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'Simple answer' about Nadolo has left Leicester dreaming of titles

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

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Steve Borthwick is hoping the experience of the defence-busting Nemani Nadolo, Kevin Sinfield and Aled Walters can help keep Leicester on course for a Gallagher Premiership and Heineken Champions Cup double. Borthwick’s young squad suffered a 26-20 loss at Harlequins last weekend and are now preparing to take on Bristol in the league and then Leinster in the European quarter-finals at home. 

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They are two key fixtures for the Tigers who have been the team to beat in England this season but have yet to prove they can land the big trophies. That is why Borthwick will be relying on Fiji powerhouse Nadolo to add to his nine Premiership tries for Leicester, the rugby league title-winning experience of defence coach Sinfield and Walters, the fitness expert who helped guide South Africa to World Cup glory in Japan in 2019.

Borthwick said: “Have I been around a player like Nemani before? The simple answer is no. Besides his attack, he is also a very good defender and steals a lot of balls on the floor. He has a big left foot when he chooses to use it, has an incredible talent and experience and uses that to help younger players in the squad.

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RUGBYPASS INSIDERS | NADOLO – A RugbyPass Originals Documentary
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RUGBYPASS INSIDERS | NADOLO – A RugbyPass Originals Documentary

“You always want players like Nemani who can break things up and that is an incredible strength. He has deft touches and offloading skills. You can also use him as a decoy runner. Everyone expects him to get the ball and when he doesn’t it attracts defenders.

“You can also add Kevin Sinfield and although it was a different (rugby) code, he was playing in finals every year and being very successful. Then you have Aled Walters, who has coached teams in finals and also been successful. 

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“We do have a young squad and they are concentrating on getting better as a team so we are in the best possible position for whatever challenge comes forward. This week that means a better performance against Bristol than we delivered against Harlequins. The Premiership is a brilliant competition and it drives you on to be even better and there is plenty of improvement still to come from us. We have an average age in the team of 25 in the Premiership and there is a lot of growth to come.”

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Regardless of the influence of Nadolo and co, Borthwick accepts the European game with Leinster will be a very different challenge for Leicester from the Premiership and has noted the Irish province sent a weakened squad to South Africa while their senior players stayed in Dublin to prepare for the trip to Leicester on May 6.

“There is plenty of work going on behind the scenes in preparation for Leinster and they have been together for a long time,” added the Leicester coach. “They are a pretty phenomenal bunch of players with lots of caps and Test experience and there is not a lot of pressure on us. They have effectively sent a second team down to South Africa to prepare for two weeks and it is not a position we are in.”

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