Taqele Naiyaravoro's form provides hope, but Waratahs need leap of faith too

The Waratahs have received strong assurance that the recruitment of Fijian Taqele Naiyaravoro from NRL side Wests Tigers last week should pay off, after he scored two tries for Parramatta in their Shute Shield match against Eastwood at T.G Millner Field on Saturday.

But the sight of Nemani Nadolo scoring two tries for the Crusaders against the Reds on Sunday should act as a staunch reminder to the Waratahs that they must back their faith in Naiyaravoro by providing him with time and opportunity to fully adapt to their playing style.

Had the Waratahs shown more faith in Nadolo when he played for them in 2009 before joining French club Bourgoin, then Exeter in England, NEC Green Rockets in Japan and the Crusaders this year, his present blistering form might have been NSW's to profit from.

It has not gone unnoticed by Waratahs outside back Matt Carraro, who was also at NSW in 2009 before leaving to play for Bath in England and then Montpellier, France, before returning to the Waratahs this season.

"[Nadolo] is an incredible player with incredible skills and he is showing that now at the Crusaders," Carraro said on Monday.

"Maybe it is the environment he is in and they have given the chance and pushed him.

"Maybe that was the case [at the Waratahs] and he didn’t get that encouragement and drive to really become a force."

At least under coach Michael Cheika, the Waratahs have an opportunity to avoid repeating the mistake.

Besides what Naiyaravoro may offer in the short term, he could even become the force Nadolo is today if NSW give him time to hone his ability.

Many took notice of his two-try debut on the wing – and later in the centres – for Parramatta in their 35-24 loss to Eastwood on Saturday, including Cheika who attended the game.

With Peter Betham out injured (foot) for Sunday's game against the Lions, there is speculation Cheika may select Naiyaravoro for the bench.

At 120 kilograms and 190 centimetres, Naiyaravoro brings an X-factor with his deceptive speed out wide and willingness to look for the ball and take on midfield defences.

The sight of him bashing through four to five defenders at a time on Saturday said enough, just as the grapple marks and scratches on him later showed how desperate the attempts were to tackle him.

As Parramatta coach Gerrard Fasavalu said: "You get a lot of big guys who come of that frame, but don’t really use it to their advantage."

Understandably, Fasavalu hopes Cheika wants Naiyaravoro to play again for Parramatta in their match against Randwick on Saturday.

"I’m only being greedy here. But if Cheika has other thoughts, by all means," Fasavalu said.

But if Naiyaravoro does play for Parramatta, Fasavalu says he will encourage him to seek opportunity: "We don’t want him to be stagnant out wide.

"Like all wingers, sometimes you see the ball, sometimes you don’t, and just have to go looking for work.

"It enhances his learning base – the more closer he is involved to the ruck as well as the ball, the more he can pick up as well."

As tempting as it may be for Cheika to select Naiyaravoro this week, he knows there is no need to rush him into Super Rugby.

Naiyaravoro's positional game still needs work, and in such a must-win match one positional error could lead to defeat.

Furthermore, with Carraro, Alofa Alofa, Rob Horne and Cam Crawford, the Waratahs are not short of wing options, despite Betham's injury.

The story Taqele Naiyaravoro's form provides hope, but Waratahs need leap of faith too first appeared on WA Today.

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