From the Box Hill Rugby Club in Melbourne’s Dewar Shield just two years ago, Sefanaia Naivalu now joins the Wallabies family.
The Melbourne Rebels and Rising back became the 900th Wallaby on Saturday, joining an illustrious group of ‘hundreds’ Wallabies, which include Chris ‘Buddha’ Handy (600), Peter Jorgensen (700) and Adam Ashley-Cooper (800).
Naivalu became eligible for Test duties last month and was immediately retained in the Wallabies squad for their tour to Pretoria and London, showing the faith Wallabies coach Michael Cheika sees in the 24-year-old utility back.
The man they call ‘Super Sefa’ came on as a replacement in 68th minute for Dane Haylett-Petty, as the Wallabies went down to the Springboks 18-10 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
Although it was not the result the Rebels flyer wanted, it marked a truly special occasion.
“It is exciting to now be in the family of the Wallabies, and it is really good to have my first game here in South Africa,” said Naivalu
“Even though we didn’t get the result, it is very exciting to get my first cap.
“I didn’t get nervous, because I know I am still playing the sport that I love, I am just going to (always) get in there and do my job.”
Naivalu had limited opportunity with the ball, only making two tackles, but his biggest challenge came in the dressing sheds shortly after the full-time siren where he had to address his teammates.
“I have always been a very quiet man, I don’t say much, but it was nice to be able to speak in front of the team.” Said the softly spoken Australia-Fijian.
“I am looking forward to taking more opportunities, and hopefully the first of many more to come, and I am looking forward to the Argentina game.
The Wallabies will be looking to bounce back next weekend when they return to Twickenham for a Rugby World Cup Semi Final rematch against Argentina in the final round of the Rugby Championship.
Tickets for the historic Wallabies v Los Pumas match in London are available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk