By Samantha Semoso – EMTV Online
The cousin of Wallabies outside centre Tevita Kuridrani, and former Wallaby Lote Tuqiri, the enormous Fijian winger Nemani Nadolo is not only well-known to the Wallabies playing group for making waves in Australian rugby for nearly a decade – running riot in Sydney club rugby for Randwick and Manly, but is also a hurdle for the Wallabies in their World Cup opener.
“He’s always been that kind of player with the X-factor – a big boy with a lot of skill,” said Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu, who played alongside Nadolo at Randwick in 2007.
“He’s one to watch and we’ve got systems to try and nullify his game and put him under a bit of heat.”
In 2008, Nadolo was drawn away from Randwick to rival club Manly by another Wallaby World Cup squad member, number eight Wycliff Palu, who will miss the Fiji clash with a hamstring injury.
Certainly nothing Nadolo has to offer will surprise Australia, but stopping him is another matter entirely.
“I’d probably try and take space off him,” monster lock Will Skelton said.
“If you do take space, he’s got a good short kicking game – those little grubbers and chip kicks.
“But I guess if you come in with good technique and good leg drive, you’ll make that tackle every day”.
He showcased his talents in Fiji’s 35-11 loss to England on Saturday – scoring a try, kicking goals and being their go-to option at all times.
His damaging runs, crashing through defensive lines and skittling defenders, have the Wallabies on high alert.
But Skelton cautioned that by putting too much focus on Nadolo would open up the game for talented fly half Ben Volavola, European-based lock Leone Nakarawa and outside centre Niki Goneva.
“If you put all the eggs in one basket to shut down Nadolo, Benny takes it to the line and he shows and goes, and goes through.
“You can’t target one specific gut because you’ve got players in their team who can make big plays.