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Dublin: 3°C Thursday 3 December 2020

Isa Nacewa re-signs for Leinster with 'unfinished business on the pitch'

And the province hope to add two more signings in the coming weeks.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

LEINSTER HAVE TODAY confirmed the signing of New Zealander Isa Nacewa for a second time in the utility back’s career.

The Kiwi, who famously has a single international cap for Fiji, retired from rugby in 2013 after five years in Ireland.

Nacewa will turn 33 in July, but head coach Matt O’Connor believes the fact he has kept close to professional rugby environment – as mental skills coach with the Auckland Blues  - has kept him sharp enough to return for a reported two-year-contract.

The embattled Australian also underlined the impact Nacewa can have when Leinster’s playing resources are stretched again during the upcoming World Cup.

“He has kept himself in good shape and was always in regular contact with some of the lads here like Leo. But there is obviously still a feeling that he has unfinished business on the pitch and we are just delighted that he feels that it is with us,” O’Connor said in a statement today.

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Leinster's Isa Nacewa Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“We mentioned last week how our resources will be tested during the World Cup window and to be able to bring in a top quality player who we know will contribute massively to the environment when the more experienced lads are away, is huge for us.”

“When those guys are back, he’ll drive it even more. To have Isa return on the back of the news that Johnny [Sexton] is also coming back and Mick Kearney signing, it’s been a huge few weeks for us as we look to build for next season.”

Nacewa himself meanwhile, stressed that the decision to return to the game was not an easy one, but with his role within the Leinster squad clarified for him, he is looking forward to returning to a familiar setting.

“While the decision to leave was right at the time, I also feel now that at 32 years I’ve still got something to give. If I didn’t grab this opportunity, there will always be a sense of ‘what if’.

“I am very grateful to John Kirwan and everyone at the Blues for the opportunity of working with them over the last two seasons. It’s not a decision Simone and I came to lightly, but we can’t wait to get back there and see what comes of it.

“I’ve had a number of chats with Matt obviously around my role but ultimately I just can’t wait to get back onto the pitch, training and playing and of course running out at a full RDS.”

O’Connor added that the province hope to complete their squad with a further ‘one or two’ new additions in the coming weeks.

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