Fi­jian sol­dier just the man to fire up troops on South African

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT -

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

Tawak third in th Fiji but, w ex­po­sure, ress up a tight-head side meets stages of t

Kali­vati Tawake.

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