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Nacewa continues to defy age as his worth to Leinster on and off the field becomes invaluable

The 34-year-old will play on into his eighth season with the province next year.

Nacewa has played an integral role in Leinster's success this year.
Nacewa has played an integral role in Leinster's success this year.
Image: Inpho

IT HAS BEEN a season of breakthrough performances at Leinster but for all the youthful exuberance driving the province’s thrilling renewal, one man remains integral to it all.

Isa Nacewa’s worth to the club, even at the age of 34, cannot be understated. His leadership, his quest for betterment and an unflinching drive for success is invaluable; and that’s even before you consider his outstanding displays on the field.

In what is his seventh season at the RDS, the Fijian is Leinster’s leading points (80) and try (seven) scorer in Europe this term and has a further 85 points and three tries in the Guinness Pro12.

“He defies age and he shows up with incredible energy,” Leinster forwards coach, John Fogarty, says.

“He’s got four girls at home so he doesn’t have it easy so for him to turn up and be full of energy and his drive to be successful in a Leinster jersey is huge for us.”

Nacewa has been nothing short of exceptional this year and save for a short stint on the sidelines with a minor knee issue, he has been an ever-present in a side excelling under Leo Cullen.

Isa Nacewa Nacewa has had a superb season. Source: CameraSport/Simon King/INPHO

Not only has he brought composure and experience to an otherwise youthful backline, Nacewa has made telling contributions throughout, most notably from the kicking tee and in big European games; he has scored a try in six of Leinster’s seven outings en route to the Champions Cup semi-finals.

Any eyebrows raised at the time of Nacewa’s return from New Zealand for a second playing stint with Leinster at the start of the 2015 campaign were quickly proved wrong and it’s little surprise that the club tied him down to a two-year deal last summer.

It means Nacewa will play on into 2017/18 with Leinster, at which point he’ll be 35. Age, you feel, is but a number for him however.

“What he brought back was an energy for everything,” Fogarty added.

“He took a break from rugby physically and mentally as he was with the Blues in a mentoring role and I think he got to reflect and came back to us refreshed.”

Captain, leader and establishing himself as a Leinster legend.

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Ryan Bailey

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