Fijian soldier just the man to fire up troops on South African
HE’S the Fijian army private who can keep pace with Nemani Nadolo, finish a fight with James Slipper and may pack down at tight-head prop against the Wallabies in the World Cup next year.
Introducing Kalivati Tawake, the Waratahs’ new front row recruit who has been rushed into the NSW squad to help sol- idify a shaky scrum.
Tawake was signed on a shortterm contract by the Tahs over summer to help bolster the NSW front-row stocks, and after just 10 minutes in a trial, the 29-year-old was called into the Waratahs’ squad for their current South Africa- Argentina tour. But far from being just injury cover, the hard-edged Fijian was this week named on the bench to play the Sharks this morning in Durban.
With Sekope Kepu injured — and the NSW scrum having been bossed by the Stormers’ last week — Tawake’s reputation as a rock in the scrum was deemed necessary by Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson.
It’s a sudden promotion and a Super Rugby debut but for those who saw Tawake play in the NRC, it’s no surprise.
The 124kg prop was one of the Fijian Drua’s best in their charge to the finals and Reds prop Slipper would have a sharper memory than most, having been involved in one unsuccessful skirmish with the Fijian soldier. The Waratahs beat the equally-as-impressed Reds to Tawake’s signature.
“He’s a strong scrummaging tight-head and he’s very good in that area of the game,” said former Waratahs coach Chris Hickey, who was a coaching consultant for the Drua last year.
“But like a lot of the Fijians, he can carry well, he is quite a good defender and he works at the breakdown. He has a strong all-round game, but obviously the Tahs are primarily looking at his scrummaging ability.”
Tawake, who has five Test caps for Fiji, also has some wheels. H year by sh the winge line, before
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