Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter believes new signing Niko Matawalu can add some real ‘X-Factor’ to his backline after he today agreed a deal until the end of the season.
The Fijian international will head to Sandy Park from Aviva Premiership rivals Bath Rugby and will join up with his new team-mates once the current autumn internationals are concluded.
Equally at home either on the wing or at scrum-half, Baxter believes the 27-year-old is a great addition to the Chiefs make-up and is excited at what he can bring to the club moving forward.
“Initially Niko’s joining until the end of the season,” said Baxter. “Initially we want to have a good look at him and then we’ll see if there is an opportunity beyond that.
“As a club we’re really looking forward to bringing him here. We had a good look at him previously when he first decided to move on from Glasgow to Bath, but now the opportunity has arisen for us to sign him and it’s come at the right time for us.
We’re not expecting him to be 100 per cent straight away as he has had a relatively lengthy injury, but he’s fully fit now, he’s ready to play, and we’re hoping he will get some good game time during these autumn internationals to help get him right up to speed.”
Guinness PRO12 medal winners Leone Nakarawa (no. 5 lock) and Niko Matawalu (scrumhalf) played a big role in helping Fiji win the latest Pacific Nations Cup, beating Samoa in the final.
The Glasgow Warriors duo from the 2014/15 season crossed the line four times between them with Nakarawa dotting down twice. Matawalu scored one try but could easily have scored another, instead he crossed the try line after a trade mark scything break and then past the ball to his captain to score. The Warriors player of the season will be sorely missed at Scotstoun next season with the star scrumhalf having made a move to Bath.
For those who have not seen these two Fijians in action I would tip them as exciting players to watch out for during the Rugby World Cup.
Connacht continued their winning start to the season with another tight triumph, this time a 14-13 victory over Edinburgh Rugby thanks to Willy Faloon’s last-gasp try.
Tom Heathcote’s boot and a try from Cornell du Preez gave Edinburgh a 13-6 lead at half time; Connacht’s points coming from two Darragh Leader penalties.
Faloon was sent to the sin bin with 16 minutes left on the clock, but returned to touch down the winning try in the dying minutes.
Fiji opened their defence of the 2014 Pacific Nations Cup with a bonus-point 45-17 victory over Tonga in Suva on Saturday.
Watisoni Votu and Sireli Bobo, who missed last week’s warm-up match against Italy, both scored twice with Nemani Nadolo and captain Akapusi Qera also registering a try.
Nadolo contributed 20 points in the match with a try, six conversions and a penalty.
He had Fiji on the board within three minutes of the start with a penalty as they raced to a 24-3 lead by halftime.
Today is the third and final day of matches in the first round of the pool stage of the Heineken Cup. In what is arguably the pick of the day’s matches Glasgow Warriors travel to France to take on Toulon. These teams currently top the RabboDirect PRO12 and French Top 14 respectively. The game is due to kick off at 16.00 South African Time.
Captain Al Kellock returns to the Glasgow Warriors starting line-up for the game against Zebre at Stadio XXV Aprile in Parma tomorrow (Friday 27 September). The second-row was stretchered off in the opening game against Cardiff Blues three weeks ago, but has recovered to take his place in the team.
Ahead of the start of the RaboDirect PRO12 season on September 6, we preview the fortunes of each side.
Glasgow Warriors scrum-half Niko Matawalu will miss the start of the season after the Fiji international broke a bone in his foot. The 24-year-old has damaged the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during training and has undergone surgery.
Glasgow Warriors are gunning for their second home RaboDirect PRO12 victory in seven days when they face Zebre at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm British Summer Time). The Warriors have made several changes to their match day squad of 23 for this game. In arguably the most notable change, former Golden Lions eighthman and captain Josh Strauss will be starting at eightman.