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Racing lock Nakarawa a doubt to face Munster after returning from World Cup two weeks late

The Fijian was said to have been building a house in his native land.

Nakarawa catches his breath during Racing's Champions Cup quarter-final with Toulouse last season.
Nakarawa catches his breath during Racing's Champions Cup quarter-final with Toulouse last season.
Image: Inpho/Billy Stickland

FIJI LOCK LEONE Nakarawa has been provisionally suspended by Racing 92 after returning from the Rugby World Cup two weeks’ later than scheduled, the French club confirmed on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old played in all four of the Pacific Islanders’ pool matches before they were knocked out and was expected back in Paris on Monday 28 October only to return a fortnight later, on Monday 11 November.

In the intervening 14 days, reports began to circulate that Racing were considering sacking the second row, this despite Pacific Rugby Welfare’s insistence that Nakarawa was finishing building a house in Fiji with the club’s blessing. They also claimed that his agent had been in contact with the Parisians.

Speaking on 7 November, perplexed Racing head coach Laurent Travers told L’Équipe that Nakarawa “must return”, noting that, “We have news, yes — the players have had. I think the club too, but now, for the moment he is not present at Racing 92. We do not know more.”

Added club team-mate Camille Chat, who returned from France duty on time following Les Bleus’ quarter-final exit: “We all ask ourselves questions — if he will come back, if he will not come back, if the club will keep him… I find it unfortunate because he is a very good player, a very good guy.”

A statement released by Racing a day after Nakarawa’s eventual return confirmed that the player would be suspended until a disciplinary meeting to decide upon his full punishment.

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“Racing 92 have provisionally suspended Leone Nakarawa and have summoned him to a preliminary meeting before an eventual sanction,” the Top 14 outfit said.

The club added in their statement that they will be making no further comment ahead of their decision, and did not specify as to when it would be made.

However, local reports have suggested that the meeting to which the club alluded will take place on Friday 22 November, on the eve of Racing’s visit to Thomond Park to face Munster in the Heineken Champions Cup, which would make the 2016 Olympic gold medallist a significant doubt to feature in Limerick.

The 61-time Fiji international was absent from training with Racing on Tuesday ahead of this weekend’s Champions Cup clash with Saracens.

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