“Now is the time to change, to make the effort”

“Now is the time to change, to make the effort”
“Now is the time to change, to make the effort”
Arrived four seasons ago to join the SU Agen Espoirs group

, Inoke Nalaga (23 years old) is just starting to find a place in the professional squad. If he has, for the moment, only six match sheets this season, he has just made two starts in a row, at Valence-Romans (38-21) and against Biarritz (26-30). Two collective defeats, certainly, but the Fijian scored his first two tries with the pros… and points for next season?

How was the return to training after the third home defeat against BO (26-30) a week ago?

We got back to work, the short races, the speed, the ground running or the passes. They were small workshops, like “skills” [la technique, NDLR] with the coaches two or three against one.

It was your third start of the season, the second in a row… Wasn’t it too hard physically to endure?

No, I was fine, not tired. I had the aches after Valencia with cramps everywhere because it had been a long time since I had played.

How do you explain your two starts in a row when you only had six match sheets this season?

I had heard a lot of things, in the media, everywhere… Now was the time to change, to make the effort.

Out of your two attempts, which one do you remember?

In Valencia, the try is rather easy to score but against Biarritz, I knew I was going to score. I even said to Dorian Bellot: “Give the ball straight”, because I had seen that the winger was in defense and that if I passed him, the try was over.

“My big brother Napolioni gives me advice outside of rugby, because on the field, it’s up to me to play”

How did you pass this milestone, almost from “out of group” to first choice on the wing?

Training! I did “extras” after the sessions, with other players. I worked on receiving high balls, passing and tackling. The passes, I worked on them with Henry “Purds” [Purdy, NDLR], the feet with Romain Darchen and the tackle with Fotu Lokotui. I also work physically, because without physical condition, you cannot defend for 80 minutes.

Is there also a new family situation?

I have been a father for a month to a little boy called Kavekini, like my father, it’s a tribute. It made me want to work even harder. I have someone who is with me now, I have to work more for my son and my family at home.

Your big brother Napolioni Nalaga [20 sélections avec les Fidji, NDLR] Does he give you any advice?

Yes, he tells me what to do, or not to do, all the time. I call him three or four times a week. He gives me advice outside of rugby, because on the pitch, it’s up to me to play. I talk a lot with the “Island boys” of the group too.

After three seasons in Espoirs, are you also part of the next generation of squad?

I am also with young people all the time. When Fotu is not playing, I know that we can speak with Julien Lebian, Valentin Gayraud, Clément Garrigues or Dorian Bellot who tell me what to do. We know each other well, we trust each other.

While the club seemed to want to lend you in the off-season, President Fonteneau explained that he was counting on you. Do you know where you will be next season?

For the moment, I don’t know anything. I just want to be focused for the last two matches. We’ll see after. We know that the group will change next season, that some will stop or leave, so we said to ourselves that we have to give everything.



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