Get to know more about giant Fiji wing Nemani Nadolo


Nemani, got any phobias?

Just learning French. I sweat it up a lot when I’m talking to French people…

How are the lessons going?

I’m doing alright now. You have good days and bad days. I do lessons a few times a week – ironically I’ve got a friend in New Zealand who speaks French and I talk with them over Skype three days a week.

Have you explored France?

My partner and I like to travel. We’ve been to Saint-Tropez, Monaco, Monte Carlo. Everything in Europe is so close together and you guys have so much history. We’ve just been to Spain as well.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Denzel Washington. He’s one bloke I’d ask a lot of questions of, but I could just listen to him. He’s one of my favourite actors.

Denzel Washington

Speech time: Actor Denzel Washington wins an award. Photo: Getty Images

Do you have any nicknames?

People just call me Nemzy, and have done since I was young. That’s what the guys call me here.

Who’s your funniest team-mate?

Nikola Matawalu is a very funny boy. It’s like when he tries to talk English; if you speak to him on the phone he can sound a little bit like a woman. But he doesn’t care!

Funniest on-field moment?

I remember playing one game for the Crusaders. Someone ducked (pulled down) my shorts… seeing it on the replay was pretty hilarious.

LeBron James

Slam dunk: LeBron James scores for Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo: Getty Images

Who are your ideal three dinner party guests?

Michael Jordan, because of what he’s done. And another basketball player, LeBron James. There’s this motivational speaker called Eric Thomas, too. He’s a bloke I listen to all the time. He’s an American speaker and I can really relate to what he’s saying.

Do you have any superstitions?

I do like to have a bottle of red wine after a game. I’ll do it whichever country I’m in. I suppose you could say it’s a bit of a superstition. No matter where I am in the world, I’ll try and get a local one… So it’s great I’m here.

Got any bugbears?

If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s rude people. It’s not hard to say “hello”.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Chocolate is my big downfall. Brownies, chocolate cake, anything like that. I’ve cut down a lot recently but that’s probably one of the reasons I can be over 130kg…

Nemani Nadolo

Power play: Fiji’s Nemani Nadolo tests the England defence last year. Photo: Getty Images

What do you make of calls for a Fijian Super Rugby franchise?

It would be awesome to have something like that on the islands. But we’d need to prove we can have something on that level. We’ve got the players and we’d have the team but we – and Tonga – must get our affairs in order. We’d need the right people running it. It’s not likely at the moment but it would be great.

What are your goals outside of rugby?

I’m doing studies for accounting. I’d like to do that or, if not, look at something with property development. Just before I became a full-time rugby player I was training in property development. I’ve always been good with numbers.

How would you like to be remembered?

If I was to leave the game tomorrow, I’d hope people say I gave it everything. Some told me I was too overweight, too big a bloke, but I never gave in. And I’d hope they’d say I was a good bloke who always had time for people. It’s not hard to do that.

This article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of Rugby World. For the latest subscription offers, click here.