WARRIORS have made another statement of intent by making Blues and Auckland wing/full-back Melani Nanai their fourth new signing for next season.
Nanai, 25, is a member of the current Blues’ Super Rugby squad and he also helped Auckland win the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership last October when he played alongside Warriors lock Michael Fatialofa in the final against Canterbury.
Nanai and Fatialofa will link up again at Sixways next season after Nanai has completed his commitments in New Zealand and he is looking forward to playing in the Gallagher Premiership for the first time.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to test myself in the Gallagher Premiership and being part of what sounds like an exciting new era for the club,” Nanai said.
“I know a couple of players at Worcester Warriors and have only heard good things. I am excited about meeting the team and working with the coaching staff at the club.
“I will be forever grateful to Auckland, the Blues and New Zealand Rugby for what they have given me since I moved to New Zealand and it will be hard leaving so many great friends, team-mates and family behind.
“My wife, Bridie, and I recently got married and we are expecting our first child, so it is going to be a very big year for my family and we are really looking forward to the start of this next chapter.”
Nanai was born and raised in Samoa and played U20s rugby for the national team. He has made his name in New Zealand rugby, first with Auckland, who voted him Development Player of the Year in 2014, and then with the Blues.
Nanai also played for the Barbarians in their 31-31 draw with South Africa at Wembley in November 2016.
He is the fourth new signing announced by Warriors in recent weeks following lock Graham Kitchener who is returning from Leicester Tigers, tighthead prop Conor Carey who has been recruited from Connacht and scrum-half Jono Kitto from Northland.
Director of rugby Alan Solomons said: “It is fantastic news for the club that Melani will be joining us next season.
“He is an absolutely class rugby player, who is equally at home at wing or full-back. The X- factor he brings will be invaluable to us as we move forward and our supporters are in for a real treat next season.”