'We are not quite sure' - Saints unclear about how old Api Ratuniyarawa is
Northampton boss Chris Boyd has paid tribute to Fijian forward Api Ratuniyarawa who is helping the club mount a challenge for the Premiership title although he is under the impression his 6ft 6ins lock forward is much older than statistics show.
Ratuniyarawa impressed for Fiji in their Autumn series win over Spain and draw with Georgia and was one of the stand out players in the loss to Wales. According to Northampton’s own website the details listed for Ratuniyarawa state that the powerful lock was born in Sigatoka on the island of Viti Levu on July 11, 1986 which makes him 35-years-old.
However, Boyd, who takes fifth placed Northampton to Ashton Gate tomorrow night to face Bristol who are lying in a lowly 11th place, said with a smile: “We are not quite sure – it depends on which passport he takes out – how old he is but he is 40 something. I think one of his passports shows he is 37 – 38 and so we think he is somewhere between 37 and 43 and seems to getting better with age. He has been very good for us and an integral part of our machine and we have enjoyed him.
“Api likes to go back to play for the Fijians and feels comfortable with the boys around him and is a bit of the old head and my understanding is that he has a lot more to say in the Fijian environment than he does in ours. For us, he is just a head facing north and bum facing south type of guy and gets on with his business. I also thought Sam Matavesi (Saints Fijian hooker) was outstanding against Wales and has been very good for us all year. He stepped up and played well for Fiji and is a real quality player.”
"The matter is closed"
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Bristol have enjoyed recent success over Northampton with five successive wins and Boyd expects a tight contest tonight adding: “We unfortunately haven’t beaten them (recently) but could have won all of them at some stage. They have the wood over us but all the games have been pretty decent.
“Bristol finished first in the league and didn’t win it last season and Harlequins got nice momentum and a nice big wave and rode it home (in the play-offs). Bristol in the semi-final were up by a truckload of points and then Quins came storming back. Bristol were the best side during the year and had a difficult start to this year but still have a team full of quality individuals. Maybe not as must depth as other rosters, but they are a handful for anyone when they get their game going.”
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