Long serving Flying Fijian Nemani Nadolo is back on the field for French Club Montpeliier following his first ever major injury and the towering winger is excited for a big second half to the Top 14 season.
Nadolo sustained a serious syndesmosis injury to his ankle against Tonga in the third test of the June Test Series and was hit by a double blow when just two weeks after his comeback for Montpellier surgeons decided his knee also needed some maintenance.
It had been quite a disappointing few months for the 30 year old, who prior to June had managed to dodge serious injury across his illustrious career, so his first hit out on the recovery was greeted with a degree of tension.
“Coming back after a long injury, particularly for my first one, I was a bit nervous and we played against Toulouse that week, so I was a bit stressed about how it was going to pan out” he said.
“But the week went so quickly. Once i got the first touch I just went with it, and it didnt take too long til i was in the game, and then we played well and we won, which helped.”
“When you’re injured like that, it’s a long time in the gym with just the trainer which gets a bit tough (away from the team), so it was just good to get some game time.”
“Now with my knee, it’s pretty good, a work in progress. I’m just working hard on making sure it recovers well and doing all the right things. Other guys have told me these things take time to get back and as a bigger guy there’s a lot of weight to go through it, so just be patient.”
“The freezing French Winter doesnt help, it’s pretty tough in the morning and getting the old knees to spark up, so for me the most important thing is a positive mindset.”
The Top 14 takes a break this week with Montpellier meeting Newcastle Falcons in the European Cup and a nice opportunity for Nadolo and Montpellier team mate Jim Nagusa to catch up with fellow Flying Fijians Vereniki Goneva, Tevita Cavubati and Josh Matavesi.
“I’ve been in touch with the lads to see who is coming down to play, it will be good to catch up with them” said Nadolo.
“I don’t often get a chance to catch up with the Fijian boys so this will be a great chance to be around the boys after the game.”
Nadolo and Nagusa both missed the November Tour and with the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians achieving history making success against France, the stalwart wingers are motivated to ensure they stay in touch with the young squad ahead of the big 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“Missing the November tour has definitely sparked us up to put the work in and have a good second half of the season with our Club.”
“Jim’s been going strong since he came back from Fiji, the last few seasons he hasn’t been playing much so to get some game time and play well against other Fijian wingers is good.”
“I know for myself I need to just focus week in and out with Montpellier, perform well there, and hopefully higher honours follow on.”
Montpellier made it through to the semi finals of the Top 14 in 2018, and following a shaky start to the 2019 season, find themselves mid range of the French league table and Nadolo says there is some work to do if the Club wants to be in with a title chance come May.
“With 12 games to go, we can still make the top 6, qualify for Europe and make the quarters finals. We’re good enough, but for whatever reason lately we just havent been getting over the line.”
“We got to keep working hard and trusting the game plan. Its a New Year, keep the faith, string together a few good games home and away, who knows. Just get to the quarters then it’s anyone’s ball game.”