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26 May 2008 11:39
A 20-year-old rugby player compared with All Black great Jonah Lomu has become the subject of a tug of war between his native Fiji and adopted country Australia.
The Fiji Times newspaper reported on Monday that Fiji-born Ratu Nasiganiyavi, the son of former Fiji international Isei Nasiganiyavi and the cousin of Australian winger Lote Tuqiri, played for Australia under-20 in their 51-12 win over Fiji’s under-20 side in Sydney on Saturday.
Although by playing in that match Nasiganiyavi seems to have ruled out any chance of playing for Fiji in the near future, the Fiji Rugby Union hopes he will eventually return to their national colours.
Nasiganiyavi moved from Fiji to Australia when he was three months old and when father Isei took up a contract with the Queensland Reds.
Fiji Rugby Union high performance manager Peter Murphy said Nasiganiyavi had indicated a strong desire to play for Fiji.
“We’ve been looking at him for a while,” Murphy said.
“[Fiji coach] Ilivasi [Tabua] and I have spoken to him. He has shown a keen interest in playing for Fiji but we couldn’t get him over for the Pacific Nations Cup because he is part of the Australian under-20 side.
Nasiganiyavi, who has scored 13 tries in eight matches for his Randwick club side this season, has been described as a young Lomu.
“Jonah was one of my idols,” Nasiganiyavi said.
“I’m obviously far away from where he is, but to be compared with the likes of him is enormous.
“I grew up wanting to be like Jonah but I’ve got a long way to go to reach my potential.”—Sapa-AP
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