Polota-Nau's club future in limbo

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will almost certainly be playing overseas next season, the rake unable to secure a contract in Australia.

Polota-Nau has become the regular starting hooker for the Wallabies this year, overtaking former skipper Stephen Moore, but with the closure of the Western Force, he finds himself without a Super Rugby home.

It’s not entirely dissimilar to his spot last year, with a move to Bristol blocked over an injury and the Force giving him a last minute lifeline to play on.

This year, franchises have locked up most of their hooker spots, with an emerging group impressing their clubs this season.

Tatafu Polota-Nau is enjoying life in Perth with the Western Force. Photo: Getty ImagesPolota-Nau said he was as clueless as anyone else as to where he’d be playing in 2018.

“I've got no idea really,” he said.

“There's been lots of chats about relocating Super Rugby franchises but to be honest I haven't had any offers.

“I'll just have to go back to my whiteboard and start afresh.

“I think I missed out on the window there (with overseas offers), because obviously I was hanging on to the Force announcement, which came late, so we'll just have to wait and see.”

The 78-Test hooker is still eligible to play for the Wallabies even if he moves overseas, giving a chance to the next generation hookers coming through at each franchise and the former Waratahs hooker was looking at the positive.

“In saying that, it's great that all the spots are full because it gives me another opportunity just to challenge myself whether it be overseas or in retirement, who knows,” he said.

“We'll just have to make sure what I do now is passed on or what I know to guys like Jordy (Uelese), Folau (Faingaa), Tolu (Latu), because they'll be the ones to come in next year.”

Polota-Nau did rule out a shock retirement move, keen to play through until at least the 2019 World Cup, body permitting.

“Absolutely (looking to play on until 2019), obviously getting the opportunity to give it a good consistent start has given me that hunger again.

“I guess you've got to take it year by year because the body's not agreeing with me.

Tatafu Polota-Nau is looking for a new rugby home. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyPolota-Nau is relishing his few days in Japan, putting the language skills he picked up from his aunt to the test.

His uncle played in Japan for Sanyo, now Panasonic, and moved to Australia without any English, so Polota-Nau’s aunt would take him to restaurants to help him learn Japanese.

“My uncle used to play here and he moved back to Australia and couldn't speak a word of English,” he said.

“Asked his wife if he could teach me a bit and she took me to restaurants, that's how I learned really, ordering stuff by saying it rather than asking for it in English.”

Natto is his go-to order, an infamous Japanese fermented soybean dish that is polarising with locals and tourists for its overwhelming smell.

“It smells bad but it tastes awesome,” he said.

“I mix that with a bit of sashimi and the locals will be surprised because they hate the smell but the taste is just good.”

The Wallabies take on Japan on Saturday November 4, kicking off at 2:40pm local, 4:40pm AEDT LIVE on FOX SPORTS.