Nemani Nadolo to stay at Crusaders until 2016

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 08/08/2014
Nemani Nadolo
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EDUCATION: Nemani Nadolo wants to shine at next year's Rugby World Cup for Fiji and has better chance of doing so by learning from the best at the Crusaders.

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Nemani Nadolo is a man of his word and will remain at the Crusaders for two more years.

Although the Super Rugby franchise have remained silent on Nadolo's future The Press understands Nadolo never had any intention of going anywhere else and will return to the Crusaders for the 2015-16 campaigns.

"I will make sure that is down pat before I leave," Nadolo recently said in reference to signing extending his contract with the franchise. He has done just that.

Now the Crusaders can enter next season knowing they have a beast on the wing who can run past, through and over opponents. Forget the nit-picking about being exposed with kicks in behind him, the big bloke is a match winner. He will improve his skills upon his return to Christchurch.

Nadolo played a major role in the Crusaders advancing into last weekend's grand final against the Waratahs, scoring 12 tries in 14 games - including one in the final - to be the competition's leading try scorer alongside the Waratahs' Israel Folau.

Although Nadolo always promised he would stay, stating his six months with the Crusaders were among the best in his rugby career, a cloud of paranoia hung over anxious supporters.

Many worried he might be led away by a fat cheque presented by another organisation and pointed to all parts of the globe as they discussed where the try-scoring machine might end up next.

Nadolo's background of living and playing in Australia created concerns the Fijian-born tank might return to the warmth and family in his old home town of Brisbane.

Others noted that he had never been afraid to travel, causing such conversations to become even more excitable.

Early in his career Nadolo, now 26, was on the Waratahs' books and when they didn't renew his deal he left to play in France and England before settling with the Green Rockets in Japan. This renewed deal is not just for the Crusaders' benefit.

Nadolo has the potential to be one of Fiji's leading strike weapons during next year's World Cup. He played in the midfield for them during the June test window and knows the five-star coaching, conditioning and medical staff at the Crusaders will enable him being a real force at the global tournament.

Players also love nothing better than the buzz of playing finals football. Nadolo is no different.

Getting another opportunity to play alongside All Blacks Dan Carter, Israel Dagg, Andy Ellis, Ryan Crotty in the backline and being fed juicy plums by No 8 Kieran Read, when he stationed himself out near the touchlines, made this Super Rugby ride even more enjoyable for Nadolo.

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This week Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach made it clear how much the giant wing was valued.

"He was an absolutely revelation. He was the competition's top try scorer and a lot has been said about how the change in fortunes coincided with his arrival and his strike-power in games.

"He fitted in really well, he was a lovely guy to have in the group and gone really well with the team. We would certainly love to have him back."

He has got his wish.

- The Press

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