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The 'every second' promise Leicester have made about Nemani Nadolo

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

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Steve Borthwick has called on Leicester to appreciate every last second Nemani Nadolo will spend at the English club before his mid-season departure to the NSW Waratahs in Australia. It was August 8 when it was confirmed by Tigers that the 34-year-old powerhouse Fijian winger would leave to take up a one-year deal in Sydney for the upcoming 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.

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At the time no departure date was mentioned by Leicester and Borthwick opted not to confirm one when asked by RugbyPass about Nadolo at his midweek media conference ahead of this Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership derby game at Northampton.

Nadolo made his first appearance of the new season for Leicester in last Saturday’s round two win over Newcastle and his two-try contribution was a reminder of how invaluable a player he has been in helping to transform the club from Premiership strugglers to champions since he joined them around the same time that Borthwick started his job in the summer of 2020.

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“No,” said the Leicester boss when asked if an exact leaving date was known for the Australian-bound Nadolo so that fans know how many matches he might have left to feature in before he exits. “What we will do is make sure we appreciate every single minute of him. That is what we will try to do.

“When I see him helping all the young players in this squad it shows another side to him as well, which is just terrific. We are very fortunate to have him with us, we are very privileged to have him with us and we will make sure we will value every second he is with us.”

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What will be the Nadolo legacy at Leicester? “We will do that after. He is still here, still here. He is here for some time yet, so what we will make sure of afterwards when he has left, we will talk about his legacy,” said Borthwick, who had recently spoken at length about the impressive emergence of a raft of young talent under his watch. What do Leicester do, though, to help a vastly experienced mid-30s player like Nadolo to stay on top of his game?

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“If a player is good enough it doesn’t matter how young or old they are but the one thing we make sure of is that those players who are more experienced have so much to offer. What they need to do is be coached well, train well and train respectfully as to what their bodies have done and Aled Walters, who is here (as head of physical performance), does that incredibly well. He gets the best out of the young players and the best out of those experienced players.”

Another 30-something winger, Chris Ashton, was among the Leicester try-scorers last weekend and Borthwick reckons the presence of these hugely experienced players in his line-up helps his youngsters to play better.

“Players like that can add enormously. As players develop through their careers, you see them come on the field and play brilliantly. We can all pick young players now who can come on the field and play brilliantly and as the player develops the opposition now starts to adjust tactics accordingly.

“Then I see a transition. The player improves, improves and improves and the players around him play better because of his presence. That doesn’t happen instantly, it happens over a period of time so when you start talking about these more experienced players and how they perform, it means the opposition has to adjust and the others players around him play better because of their presence. That counts for the names [Nadolo and Ashton] you have mentioned.”

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