Stripping plenty of weight off his massive frame is paying off for fitter NSW Waratahs Super Rugby winger Taqele Naiyaravoro.
The big back displayed plenty of strength, power and pace in scoring two tries when he came off the bench last week in the win over the Melbourne Rebels.
With NSW having a bye this week, the 26-year-old Fijian-born Wallaby, having scored a try in each of his two Tests as a bench replacement, will have the chance to start a trial match for his Sydney club West Harbour on Saturday.
Naiyaravoro said fitness was a big problem for him last year and, at one stage, his weight ballooned to around 136kg.
But losing about 12kg, in tandem with the Waratahs' tough pre-season program, has helped in that area.
"It was the toughest pre-season for the Waratahs I've ever done and that's basically paying off for me now," Naiyaravoro said.
"I think I'm moving around a lot quicker and a lot better in the field, especially not being too fatigued to move around."
For one of his tries against Melbourne, Naiyaravoro backed up to score after getting back off the ground earlier in the movement.
"I find that really surprising as well because I never used to do that, but that's a reflection of the hard work we've done," he said.
"I'm pretty comfortable now (at this weight) - still working hard. It's a lot more different when you're playing at 136 (kilos).
"There's no excuse for that (weight). It was just my own discipline that I had to deal with.
"I've changed a lot; it's not really the food that I eat; it's just being more smart."
Naiyaravoro believes his weight loss has also helped him defensively.
Previously, there was a perception opposing sides could potentially exploit his wing by kicking in behind him as he might be slow to turn.
"I dropped a lot of weight. I think that has helped me to counter some of that," said Naiyaravoro.
He is yet to start a match this season, with four other wingers appearing in the run-on side, including Israel Folau, after his switch from fullback.
"First and foremost, I support whoever starts on the wing, even if I'm on the bench," Naiyaravoro said.
"The best thing is to support him (Folau) and, being on the bench, I try my best when I get on."