Posted: 23/10/19 by Northampton Rugby Football Club
Northampton Saints can today announce that winger Taqele Naiyaravoro has extended his contract at Franklin’s Gardens.
The 27-year-old Fijian-born behemoth instantly become a supporter favourite upon his arrival at Franklin’s Gardens last summer, courtesy of his immense ball-carrying ability.
Naiyaravoro left opposition defenders strewn in his wake as he made some 28 appearances during an explosive debut season at Saints.
The 2018/19 campaign saw him score 11 tries, making more metres and clean breaks than any other player in the Gallagher Premiership, and become the only player to beat a century of defenders in one league season since data has been recorded.
And after putting pen to paper on a deal that will see him continue to represent the Club for at least two more seasons, Naiyaravoro is delighted to be staying in Northampton.
“I’m over the moon to be signing on again with Saints,” he said. “I’m very happy here in Northampton and the progress the squad has made over the last 12 months is really exciting.
“I have moved around quite a lot during my career so far, but importantly my family have settled well in Northampton and we feel very much at home here.
“It’s amazing to think I have at least another two years ahead of me here at Franklin’s Gardens. I just hope I can repay all the faith the Club’s loyal supporters have shown in me with more good performances, plenty of tries, and hopefully some more trophies.
“We have a brilliant playing group, training environment, and coaches at Saints who have helped me so much, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the future holds in store for us.”
Naiyaravoro arrived in Northampton last summer just weeks after he had broken the Waratahs’ single-season try-scoring record in Super Rugby.
Starting out in rugby league with Sydney side Wests Tigers, a switch in codes to rugby union beckoned and saw him link up with the Waratahs (2014-15 and 2016-18), Glasgow Warriors (2015-16), and Panasonic Wild Knights (2016-17).
His performances in club rugby and within the Barbarians squad in 2015 earned him a place on the international stage, as he was selected by Australia and scored with his first touch for the Wallabies in a one-off Test against the USA.
Good form saw Naiyaravoro named in the Australia squad to face England in 2016 – coming on in the final Test to score against a Red Rose side containing future Saints teammates Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes, Teimana Harrison and Paul Hill.
Naiyaravoro was selected for the Barbarians again during the 2016 end-of-year internationals, starting against South Africa and scoring a try while setting up two more in a man-of-the-match performance, before featuring for the famous touring side again in a one-off match against England in 2019 following a stellar first season with Saints.
Saints director of rugby Chris Boyd said: “I’m thrilled that Taqele has re-signed with Saints – although no doubt there will be a few opposition defenders in the Premiership who won’t be so happy about the news.
“It’s no secret that ‘Big T’ is a huge asset for us; his ball-carrying ability is almost second to none and we know he will create opportunities to score tries every match.
“He provides a point of difference for Saints and the people of Northampton love watching him play, so it’s fantastic he has bought in to our long-term aims here – I’m confident he will continue to improve in Black, Green and Gold.”