Leone Nakarawa to miss derbies as he remains in Fiji

Date published: August 18 2020 - David Skippers

Glasgow Warriors will be without influential second-row Leone Nakarawa for their return to action against Edinburgh as he remains in Fiji.

The Fiji international will miss both of this month’s derby fixtures at Murrayfield after being allowed permission to remain in his homeland for parental leave.

The 32-year-old played two games before the lockdown after returning to the Warriors halfway through the season and signed a one-year contract in June, but was always scheduled to stay in Fiji until some time in August.

His return has not been finalised and new Glasgow head coach Danny Wilson confirmed he would not be available for Saturday’s encounter or the second part of the double header six days later.

Wilson said: “What happened with Leone, his wife was due at the end of July. He has been in Fiji and we gave him that grace to spend a little bit of extra time with his family – his wife and their first baby.

“On top of that, the first flight out of Fiji was this week because flights have been locked down in Fiji. So we are in the process of getting him back.

“With all these boys, they have to have the relevant time to return to rugby to be safe.”

The forward was sacked by Racing 92 in December following his late return from the World Cup but Wilson is relaxed about the return plans for the former European player of the season.

“I don’t foresee any issues,” he said. “For the right reasons, we have given that grace like you would do with anybody to spend time with your family when needed during these milestone events.”

Glasgow will also be without centre Kyle Steyn (hamstring) and prop Aki Seiuli (broken thumb), while full-back presents a selection poser for the new Warriors head coach.

Tommy Seymour moved from the wing to play at 15 on a number of occasions last season following Stuart Hogg’s departure and Ruaridh Jackson has retired since lockdown commenced.

Glenn Bryce is still training with the club but is yet to sign a new contract, while 20-year-old summer signing Rufus McLean can play at full-back and also on the wing.

“It was never the plan not to have an out-and-out full-back,” Wilson said.

“It was obviously post-Covid we were hit with the restrictions we had. We were looking to sign a full-back and that unfortunately didn’t happen.

“So we have looked at that in a slightly different way. Without giving too much away I think you might see a little bit of a surprise at full-back, something that we have been working on.”