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Connacht have announced the signing of Fijian-born back row forward Naulia Dawai on a two year deal.
Born in Fiji, Dawai moved to New Zealand in 2011 to join club side Southland and he went on to play 7's with the provincial side before breaking into the 2013 ITM Cup team. He joined Otago in 2014 and went on to become a regular in the 2015 ITM Cup campaign.
At international level, the 29-year-old made his debut for Fiji in June 2016, starting three tests against Tonga, Samoa and Georgia.
“I’m extremely excited to get to Ireland and take up this wonderful opportunity with Connacht Rugby. It will be my first time in Ireland and indeed Europe but it’s a challenge I am really looking forward to," Dawai said.
“From speaking to Pat (Lam) and watching the Connacht games, I am excited by the type of rugby being played and I hope I can come over and add something as well.
“I’d like to thank all the coaches at Otago and particularly Cory (Brown). I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity for myself and my family.”
Head coach Pat Lam is looking forward to welcoming him to the Sportsground in the coming weeks.
“Naulia is an exciting addition to the Connacht Rugby squad as he brings X-factor to our hard-working forward pack. He can play across the back row, which is a great boost to our options up front and also provides vital depth and competition in those positions," he said.
“We were really impressed with the rugby Naulia’s been playing in the NPC and also with the Fiji national side during the summer. When Otago Head coach and good friend Cory Brown (a former coach at Connacht) confirmed to me Naulia’s work ethic and ability on and off the field, we were very pleased to secure him for Connacht Rugby.
“We’re all looking forward to welcoming Naulia and his family to Connacht in the next few weeks and bringing him up to speed on everything on and off the pitch.”
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