WELLINGTON – Fijian wingers Nemani Nadolo and Timoci Nagusa both announced their international retirements Friday in a double blow for the Pacific Islanders ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup.
The pair, who both play club rugby for Montpellier in France’s Top 14, announced their decisions separately on social media.
“I felt it was the right decision for me and my family moving forward,” said Nadolo, 31, who scored 19 tries for the Flying Fijians in 30 Test appearances.
Nagusa, also 31, said “I’ve had the greatest moments” representing Fiji on the international stage.
Fiji coach John McKee said he was disappointed with the retirements but respected the players’ decisions.
“I thank these players for their contribution to the Flying Fijians over the years both on and off the field through their exceptional play and team leadership,” he said in a statement.
“In many ways retirements such as these show us the pressure our Flying Fijians can be under juggling their professional rugby career, possible injuries, living in Europe, family life and making themselves available to represent their country.”
While Nadolo and Nagusa will be missed, McKee said there was no guarantee they would have made the squad for the World Cup in Japan starting in September.
Neither were in the squad that notched an upset maiden win over France last November and McKee said there was currently a lot of depth in Fijian rugby.
“(There’s) a lot of competition across the team to make the final selection for RWC 2019,” he said.
“2019 is a very important year for the Flying Fijians and there will be a lot of hard work and commitment required to ensure that the final selected squad is fully prepared to put in our best performance at RWC 2019.”
Agence France-Presse (AFP)