- DOB7 Dec 1991
Fijian-born flyer Taqele Naiyaravoro is widely known in the Southern Hemisphere for his immense ball-carrying ability.
Beginning his rugby in the alternative code, Naiyaravoro was recruited by Sydney side Wests Tigers before turning out for Balmain Tigers in the NSW Cup – getting called up to play for Fiji after scoring 23 tries in 15 games that season.
However, a switch to rugby union in 2014 saw him link-up with the NSW Waratahs and he scored his first two tries in the same match two months later, coming off the bench against the Highlanders.
Scottish rugby fans will remember Naiyaravoro’s turn north of the border when he scored nine tries in 22 appearances for Glasgow Warriors during the 2015-16 season, before Japan’s Top League then beckoned the following season as he linked up with the Panasonic Wild Knights.
Featuring in a World XV, Naiyaravoro posted a hat-trick in his debut against Japan before being named in the Barbarians squad a week later to face Samoa.
Those performances on the international stage caught the eye of Michael Cheika and the wing was added to an extended Wallabies squad ahead of a one-off Test against USA. During this match he came off the bench before scoring a try with his first touch of the ball.
Naiyaravoro then returned to Australia, featuring for both West Harbour and the Waratahs, and continued his prolific try scoring with 11 tries in as many appearances during the 2017/18 season.
The return to Australia also saw the winger force himself back into Wallabies reckoning, and Naiyaravoro was named in the squad to face England in 2016 – coming on in the final Test to score against a Red Rose side containing future Saints teammates Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Teimana Harrison and Paul Hill.
Naiyaravoro was selected for the Barbarians again during the 2016 end-of-year internationals, starting against South Africa and scoring a try while setting up two more in a Man-of-the-Match performance.
And his path to Franklin’s Gardens was confirmed in February 2018, with Naiyaravoro signing on to play for Saints from the 2018/19 season onwards, but not before he had broken Israel Folau’s Waratah’s single-season try-scoring record in Super Rugby.