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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 11 August, 2020

'Fingers crossed I'm here next year' - Nacewa hoping to extend his stay with Leinster

The fullback is one of a number of players out of contract at the end of the season.

Nacewa wants to stay at the RDS for another year.
Nacewa wants to stay at the RDS for another year.

LEINSTER CAPTAIN ISA Nacewa wants to extend his stay with the province into a seventh season as talks over his future take place.

The 33-year-old says plans for him to stay at Leinster beyond this season are ‘in the pipeline’ with his current one-year deal expiring in the summer.

“I’m here to stay if I’m wanted and those things are in the pipeline so fingers crossed I’m here next year,” Nacewa said earlier today.

The Fijian fullback spent five seasons at the RDS, winning three European Cups and a Pro12 title, only to return as club captain at the start of the current campaign.

“It’s like I never left,” he says of his first season back. “There’s a whole bunch of new guys but it’s great, a fresh voice in Leo [Cullen] and Girv [Dempsey]. There’s Kurt McQuilkin back and John Fogarty looking after the forwards, it’s a great environment to be part of.

“There’s a bit of craic around the younger guys and the older heads but it’s just part and parcel of being around a long time.

“It’s not a mentor role but just lead by example and help out when you can and I’m pushing for a starting spot just like any other guy and that’s generating the competition.”

Nacewa returns to the Leinster side for tomorrow’s Pro12 clash with Zebre after missing the last number of games through injury.

He underwent a minor surgical procedure to rectify a knee issue which had troubled him for much of the season.

“I have been carrying a knee niggle for the last couple of months and there was just a slight chance, small window to get that cleaned up,” he explained.

Leinster’s Isa Nacewa The fullback has been out of action for the last number of weeks. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

“Ideally I would have liked to have been there for the Dragons game but for the overall shape of the season Leo and the medical staff thought it was the best opportunity to get my knee fixed.

“It’s feeling great now, the best it’s felt all year and it’s such a crucial stage for us and I’m preparing for a big couple of weeks.”

Defeat at Rodney Parade last time out ended Leinster’s seven-game winning streak in the competition and Nacewa insists the squad, which includes Cian Healy, Mike Ross and Josh van der Flier, are determined to get back on track on Friday.

“We were bitterly disappointed not coming away with a point against Dragons and you look at the shape of the table at the moment and it’s very tight up there so we’re just excited to be back in front of our home crowd at the RDS.

“It’s one of those critical points in the season but it’s about getting the win first and that’s it. Anything above it is great and the table is tight so every point does make a difference here on out.

“One dropped game here, one dropped game there and all of a sudden the whole top of the table changes for all teams and we can only look at what we’re in control of and that’s turning up to play in the right mindset against Zebre.”

Isa Nacewa and Leo Cullen were speaking this afternoon during a visit to Tallaght Hospital to see the work being doing in the Centre for Cardiac Risk in Younger Persons. CRY is one of Leinster Rugby’s charities for the 2015/16 season. More information can be found here.

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