The one time in Nemani Nadolo's career he felt 'like a little kid'
One of Rugby’s true giants, Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo has told the story of the day he felt like a little kid by All Black legend Richie McCaw.
The 137kg back rarely has cause to feel intimidated but said his first day on-site with the Crusaders in 2014 was memorable for a number of reasons.
Having signed for the Junior Warratahs team in 2008, Nadolo spent the next two years excelling at every level he played at, including his time in the Australian Under 20 team but ultimately didn’t get an opportunity at Super Rugby level with the New South Wales side.
Nadolo took his opportunities in Europe and Japan before signing in New Zealand in late 2013.
“I went to New Zealand and was fortunate enough to play for the Crusaders,” Nadolo recalled for World Rugby. “Probably the only time in my career where I’ve been really anxious about going into a new club. It’s one thing watching them on TV, I know they’re only human beings but the aura they possess, it’s crazy.
“I remember walking in to do my medicals that morning, I was kind of like a little kid, Richie McCaw walked in, I got up and shook his hand, I still remember it to this day and he goes to me, and I said ‘G’day I’m Nemani’, I actually said my full name, usually I just get them to call me Nims and he was like ‘you here to have some fun?’ And I was like ‘yeah’ and he goes ‘alright I’ll see you soon’ and that was it”.
A moment that scared even the great @nemani_nadolo!#Origins pic.twitter.com/XAzEQYt9iu
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) December 28, 2022
Reflecting on his time with the Waratahs, Nadolo admitted to feeling as though he didn’t take his opportunities at the club but was also given some feedback about the team’s perception of him that he still carries today.
“You know growing up I was obviously at the Waratahs and was not good enough to play Super Rugby I guess, at the time I was told the perception they had about me was that I was not going to be quick enough or have what it takes to make it at that level so that kind of stuck with me when I ventured on around the world playing rugby.”
Rumoured to have had a sub-11-second 100m sprint time, Nadolo’s professional career has well and truly proved those perceptions wrong.
Now, the 34-year-old is back in Super Rugby and will finally suit up for the Waratahs in 2023, no doubt hoping to feature in round 2’s “Super Round” where the Waratahs will face the Fijian Drua at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
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I suggest for an injection of rugby enthusiasm watch URC and Heineken Cup. Last night's game between campions Stormers and 15 on the trot unbeaten Leinster ended in a thrilling the draw in the worst possible rugby conditions producing seven tries, outstanding defence, and some really exciting running by both sides. Huge physicality, great set piece contests (virtually every lineout was contested), great maul, running, intercept and kick chase tries and just about everything one could want. One side 22 points adrift after 35 minutes only to go five up with ten to play putting on 27 unanswered points and then in the death an absolutely magic try levelling the score with an impossible kick in high wind being snatched away at the last second. all in front of a full house stadium and over half a million TV viewers. Now that is the game played in heaven - rugby.Go to comments
Nice one Nick. He actually reminds me of more physical David Knox - those deft passes to keep the defences guessing still burns in my memory.Go to comments