Super Rugby

Tongan centre surprised by Bulls approach

Cape Town - Tongan centre Nafi Tuitavake says he was surprised when he found out the Bulls were hunting his signature.

The 31-year-old, who has played 14 Tests for Tonga and was a member of their Rugby World Cup squad in Japan last year, recently signed a two-year deal with the Pretoria franchise.

He broke his arm against England at the World Cup and was busy with his rehabilitation in New Zealand at the tail-end of 2019 when his agent informed him of the Bulls' interest.

"I said, yes, let's give this a chance. But I was still surprised when the Bulls offered me a contract three days later. It's all happened very quickly and now I'm here. I'm now just trying to get used to the sun and altitude," Tuitavake told Netwerk24.

Tuitavake is confident that he has recovered sufficiently from the arm injury.

"I was worried about it because it was my first big injury. And (the offer from the Bulls) came so quickly. The challenge is surely to gain confidence and not think about (the injury) too much.

Tuitavake only arrived in Pretoria on January 18 after issues with his visa but has now settled in.

"I've had a full week's training and I've made contact without any issues."

Tuitavake grew up in New Zealand and represented North Harbour and the Crusaders, as well as Agen in France and Northampton Saints in England.

He is the younger brother of former All Black wing Anthony Tuitavake.

The Bulls open their Super Rugby campaign against the Sharks in Durban on Friday, with coach Pote Human to name his team later on Wednesday afternoon.

Friday's match at Kings Park kicks off at 19:10.



15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche

Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Henco Venter, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Boeta Chamberlain, 23 Jeremy Ward



- Compiled by Herman Mostert

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