Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce the signing of Fijian international Aisea Natoga.
22-year old Natoga, who can play at centre, wing or fullback, has played for Fiji at U18 and U20 level as well as on the sevens circuit, and has won five full caps since making his debut against Georgia last November, scoring one try.
Standing 1.88m tall and weighing 90kg, Natoga has a reputation as a strong and pacy player with good offloading ability, catching the eye in the recent IRB Pacific Nations Cup (PNC) which was won by Fiji for the first time.
He plays his club rugby with Nadroga in the Digicel Cup in Fiji and after making his full international bow at the end of 2012 he was selected to represent Fiji Warriors, a team made up of players within the domestic Fijian set-up, to compete in the Pacific Rugby Cup against A teams from the other Pacific rugby nations as well as Super Rugby development teams at the start of this year, scoring a try from fullback against Highlanders.
He was then named in the full Fiji squad for the PNC, playing in three of the four matches and combining with 2012/13 RaboDirect PRO12 Dream Team scrum-half Nikola Matawalu to score a stunning length of the field try in a 22-8 victory over Japan.
The player is currently awaiting Home Office visa clearance and is expected in Ospreylia ahead of the new season.
Ospreys Rugby Operations Manager, Andy Lloyd, said that Natoga is an exciting signing with a bright future ahead of him:
“We’ve been tracking Aisea for some time so we are delighted to be able to secure his services for the Ospreys.
“European rugby has seen a number of Fijian players making a huge impact in recent seasons. It’s clear that being in and around a professional environment where they get full nutritional and conditioning support helps them to really fulfil their explosive potential, as you’d expect.
“We definitely see that in Aisea having looked at him for a while. He’s someone who started to come on the international radar last autumn when he won his first cap on Fiji’s autumn tour, and he was a big part of the squad that won the Pacific Nations Cup last month. We’ve watched him very closely and taken feedback from some very reliable sources to ensure his suitability as a character for our environment.
“He fits what we are trying to do here as a team that remains ambitious to compete on all fronts. He adds another edge to our backline and gives us depth in key positions that we didn’t have last season.
“Although he’s played sevens rugby he isn’t just a stereotypical sidestepping sevens player, he has physicality and power which makes him a very dangerous player. He’s versatile and positionally he has good awareness of what is happening around him.
“As with the other signings we’ve made this summer, Aisea may be under the radar but we have worked hard to identify players who will bring something different to the mix while having a strong team ethic and a real desire to help the Ospreys continue to progress. We are genuinely excited about the impact he could have in an Ospreys shirt.”