Polota-Nau with plenty more to give

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Tatafu Polota-Nau has been handed a rugby lifeline with Leicester and he's determined to make the most of it, after an emotional year.

Polota-Nau will join the Premiership side as soon as the Spring Tour is over and has the 2019 Rugby World Cup firmly in his sights.

The first-choice Wallabies rake will still be eligible to play for Australia, having passed the 60-Test minimum required for overseas-based players, and it’s understood his move won’t affect those chances or his shot at a third World Cup berth.

He will be the only current Wallaby based overseas, with Will Genia and Kurtley Beale both returning this year.

Leicester came into contention for Polota-Nau’s signature as late in the piece as last week, he said, after discussing with reporters in Japan that he had few options when it came to his next step.

The 32-year-old had held off looking for a new rugby home though the year as the Force's Super Rugby fight dragged on this season, committed to trying to stay in Perth. 

“(It came about) pretty much when I had that chat (in Japan last week) really,” he said

“At the same time, I wasn't really focused on trying to secure that, (I was) more focused on trying to finish our business off getting four out of four on the Spring Tour.”

Finally securing a contract was somewhat of a relief for the 32-year-old, whose future was uncertain for much of this season, even though it means he will be leaving Australia.

“Yes (relieved), definitely in terms of still being able to contribute to my own progression...I'll definitely miss home but it's the way the cookie crumbles,” he said.

“I have no doubt that the future of Super Rugby in the hooking department is well-covered.

“I'm really excited to watch from afar the likes of Jordan (Uelese), Alex Mafi, Andrew Ready, Tolu (Latu).”

One bright spot for Polota-Nau is the opportunities his move leaves for the next generation of hookers, a group that he is excited to watch progress.

“Obviously, Steve (Moore) and I have held that reign for a bit but for the sake of the growth of our game I think it's definitely a positive to watch them from afar,” he said.

Polota-Nau may well be packing down opposite his future teammate, England loosehead prop Dan Cole, at Twickenham next weekend, mere weeks out from joining his club.

That contest and this tour will be a chance, he said, to begin to adapt to the northern conditions, before heading into club land.

“(There’ll)) definitely a lot of banter there,” he said.

“In saying that, I'm looking forward to the challenge.

“It's also probably a good perspective of what it's like being over here.

“I’m chuffed I've found some progression for my rugby as well, but in saying that, it'll be a good test coming next week.”

Lock Adam Coleman said he was happy for his Wallabies and former Force teammate.

“I think I support Taf in any decision he makes and I'm happy for him and his family,” he said.

“I told him to buy a jumper. I'm very happy for Taf.”

The Wallabies travelled to London on Sunday ahead of their clash with England at Twickenham.

Australia takes on England on Saturday November 18, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.