Hughes predicts Fiji’s rise

WHILE the Vodafone Flying Fijians prepare for Samoa in Apia, one of their countrymen has predicted the rise of Fijian rugby in the near future.

Fiji-born and England rugby team’s number eight, Nathan Hughes predicts the Flying Fijians will be a big threat to Tier One nations in the near future.

He said Fiji could be a threat to Australia and Wales during the group stage of the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Nathan, who has made 10 appearances for England, is in the country on a short holiday.

Born in Lautoka, Nathan was first eligible to represent Fiji and Samoa before becoming eligible for England in 2016.

In August, Nathan was selected in the England 45-member provisional elite squad and subsequently in the Autumn international training squad making his debut against South Africa last November.

He said the Flying Fijians had pushed Australia and Wales to the wire in the past few world cups.

He said their recent win against Scotland had shocked many rugby pundits but the result showed that Fiji had a lot of potential and talents.

“The team that Fiji has got now with a bit of young boys and experience, they will match Australia and Wales in the World Cup,” Nathan said.

“This is the third World Cup that Fiji is in the same pool with Wales and the second with Australia. They know how to play against Australia and Wales.

“I think people are shocked about the result Fiji vs Scotland but don’t realise that the potential and talent in Fiji is a lot.

“They beat Scotland, it wasn’t a shock because they played in front of their home crowd. I am happy with the result and wish them all best against Samoa.”

Nathan was scouted by Kelston Boys High School when their U16 side played St Thomas High School in Lautoka in 2008.

He was offered a partial scholarship in 2009 and was selected for the Auckland U18 secondary school team.

Nathan signed up with the Auckland Rugby Academy and made his debut for Auckland in the ITM Cup against Otago in 2011.

In 2013, he moved to England. “There are a lot of Fijians playing overseas and when they go back to play for their country they add all that experience into the team,” he said.

“When local boys go in, they see that experience from overseas players. When they come into the game they add that bit and everything goes smoothly “

Nathan has some years left in his contract with Wasps and is nearing his 100th cap for the club sitting on 97.

“I came to visit my family and friends and spend a bit of time in the sunshine,” he said.

Nathan is the son of former national hockey rep William Hughes while his uncle Asaeli, was a former dual international having represented Fiji in basketball and rugby.

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