WORCESTER Warriors wing Melani Nanai has signed a contract extension that will keep him at Sixways until at least 2023.
Nanai, 26, joined Warriors last season from Super Rugby side Blues and was voted the Auckland-based side’s Player of the Season in his final season with them.
Although Nanai’s first season with Warriors was interrupted by a shoulder injury, which required surgery earlier this year, he has regained full fitness during the three-month break caused by the Coronavirus lockdown and will be ready to play when the 2019/20 campaign resumes.
Nanai, who played for his native Samoa in the 2013 Junior World Championship in France, won Zealand’s Mitre 10 Cup with Auckland in 2018 and is relishing the prospect of an extended stay with Warriors.
“It was an easy decision to make. I haven’t had as many opportunities as I would like because of the injury but I just want to prove myself here and show what I can do,” Nanai said.
“The Premiership is a different style of rugby to back in New Zealand. There’s a lot of contact involved but it’s given me the opportunity to see what the competition is like here.”
Warriors chief Alan Solomons revealed his delight at capturing Nanai – a star who he describes as ‘oozing talent and an X-Factor player who established himself as one of the leading lights of Super Rugby’.
“The past season has been difficult for him due not only to having to play back-to-back seasons, but also because of injury,” he said.
“He is now recovering well from his shoulder operation and should be good to go when we start playing again.
“With our new coaching staff in place and, particularly, Jockey [Matt Sherratt] taking the backs and attack, I am confident we are going to see the best of Melani.”