Naiyaravoro expresses desire to play for Fiji

International
by RUGBY.com.au staff

Former Wallabies flyer Taqele Naiyaravoro has expressed his desire to play for Fiji at the 2023 Rugby World Cup should World Rugby loosen its rulings on international eligibility.

Naiyaravoro played two Tests for the Wallabies in 2015 and 2016 but form and a move overseas ended his chances of adding to that tally.

Currently playing in Northampton, Naiyaravoro isn't eligible for Wallabies duty but under current regulations also can't play for his native Fiji. 

In an interview with the UK's Sky Sports, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said should he be successful in earning a second term in the top job, eligibility would be looked at.

"I'm very keen on looking at players who for instance may have played for England or New Zealand or whoever, and whether they could go back and play for their country of origin.

In the past, once players were capped for one nation in Test rugby they could not represent another country.

However, the introduction of Sevens into the Olympics forced a change that would allow players to switch allegiances if they had a passport for a country and have not played Test rugby for at least three years.

Naiyaravoro falls into that category and told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation and the UK's Daily Mail that he was interested in playing for Fiji in the future.

“As much as I enjoyed those moment, I always have said to myself what if this jersey was the Flying Fijians jersey," he said to the FBC.

"It felt like I wasn’t satisfied and that’s when I knew that my heart was with Fiji all along.

“Firstly I want to make it clear that playing for the Wallabies was something I never thought I would be asked and I never have any regrets in playing for them. I’ve always had Fiji close to my heart every time I stepped out onto the field regardless of what team I play for.”

The mammoth winger wouldn't be the first player to make the switch.

Cooper Vuna represented Tonga in the 2019 Rugby World Cup and also in Sevens events in the lead-up to Rio 2016, more than four years after representing the Wallabies.

Tim Nanai-Williams was the first player to make a national switch.

The former New Zealand Sevens player was part of the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cup campaigns with Samoa after switching his allegiance.