Melani Nanai
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Melani Nanai
Melani Nanai
Full nameMelani Nanai Vai
Date of birth (1993-08-03) 3 August 1993 (age 27)
Place of birthApia, Samoa
Height1.94 m (6 ft  in)
Weight93 kg (14 st 9 lb; 205 lb)
SchoolDe La Salle College
Rugby union career
Position(s) Wing, Fullback
Current team Worcester Warriors
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014-2019 Auckland 35 (60)
2015-2019 Blues 64 (80)
2019- Worcester Warriors
Correct as of 26 November 2018
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2013 Samoa Under-20 5 (15)
Correct as of 11 December 2014

Melani Nanai (born 3 August 1993) is a Samoan rugby union player who plays as an outside back for Worcester Warriors.[1][2][3][4][5]

Early career

Born and raised in Samoa, Nanai came to New Zealand to attend high school at De La Salle College in the southern part of Auckland. He later returned home to his native Samoa at the end of his 5th form in 2009 before returning to New Zealand in 2011.[5] He worked packing boxes and doing dispatch in East Tamaki while playing club rugby, first for Otahuhu and latterly for Manukau Rovers where he came under the wing of All Black legend, Frank Bunce.[6]

Senior career

Although not initially named in the Auckland squad for the 2014 ITM Cup,[7] Nanai's impressive form at club level for Manukau Rovers saw him break into their top team and make 5 appearances during the campaign which ended with him being named development player of the year.[5] A first team squad member in 2015, Nanai scored 3 tries in 6 games as Auckland finished as Premiership runner-up, going down narrowly to Canterbury in the final and this time he was named as Auckland's rookie of the year.[5]2016 was not such a good year for Auckland, as they finished 5th on the log, while Nanai's try scoring and appearance stats were the same as the previous year, 3 tries in 6 matches.[2]

In addition to playing for Auckland at provincial level, he has also represented them in sevens rugby as well as winning the World 10s Championship with the Blues.[8]

He joined Premiership Rugby side Worcester Warriors ahead of the 2019-20 season. He has signed a contract extension to remain at Worcester until at least the end of the 2022-23 season.[9]

Super Rugby

Just 5 appearances at provincial level were enough to convince Auckland-based Super Rugby franchise the Blues to name him in their wider training group for the 2015 Super Rugby season.[10] He enjoyed a hugely impressive debut campaign playing at Super Rugby level, making 13 starts in the outside back positions and scoring 3 tries. Tana Umaga replaced Sir John Kirwan as Blues head coach ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season and he promoted Nanai to their first team squad. Again he was a regular through 2016, mostly in the fullback position vacated by Charles Piutau and this time he scored 5 times in 11 appearances.[2]

International

Nanai was a member of the Samoa Under-20 team which competed in the 2013 IRB Junior World Championship in France where he scored 3 tries in 5 appearances.[11][12]

He also played in the number 15 jersey for the Barbarians in their 31-31 draw against South Africa at Wembley Stadium on 5 November 2016. He scored the game's opening try in the 4th minute.[13][14]

Super Rugby statistics

As of 23 November 2016[2]
Season Team Games Starts Sub Mins Tries Cons Pens Drops Points Yel Red
2015 Blues 13 13 0 1003 3 0 0 0 15 0 0
2016 Blues 11 10 1 821 5 0 0 0 25 0 0
Total 24 23 1 1824 8 0 0 0 40 0 0

References

  1. ^ "Melani Nanai Auckland Player Profile". Auckland Rugby. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d "Melani Nanai itsrugby.co.uk Player Statistics". itsrugby.co.uk. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "Melani Nanai ESPN Scrum Player Profile". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "Blues 2017 Squad Guide" (PDF). All Blacks.com. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "Melani Nanai Blues Player Profile". Blues Rugby. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "Frank Bunce says Melani Nanai is proof club rugby players are being overlooked". Rugby Heaven. 14 July 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Auckland ITM Cup squad announced". Voxy.co.nz. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 2016.
  8. ^ "Former player of the year included in Aukland Sevens' squad for Twickenham series". London 24. 3 August 2014. Archived from the original on 20 September 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ "Worcester Warriors | Melani Nanai pens Warriors contract extension". warriors.co.uk. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Blues 2015 Squad Naming" (PDF). All Blacks.com. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "Melani Nanai Scoresway Player Statistics". Scoresway. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ "JWC 2013:Pool C: Samoa (Team Profile)". In at the side. 4 June 2013. Archived from the original on 11 December 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ "Former All Black Andy Ellis to skipper Barbarians against Springboks". Rugby Heaven. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  14. ^ "Late van Rensburg try saves South Africa blushes". ESPN Scrum. Retrieved 2016.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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