Nadolo confirms three year Montpellier Top 14 deal

The 2016 Super Rugby season will be Nemani Nadolo's last with the Crusaders

Canterbury Super Rugby franchise the Crusaders have confirmed that Fijian Rugby World Cup winger Nemani Nadolo will not be extending his contract with the Christchurch team next season.

As reported last week on RugbyWeek Nadolo has agreed to play his rugby in France for French club Montpellier after the 2016 Super Rugby season.

Fijian winger Nadolo was raised in Brisbane Australia and has had playing stints in the UK, France, Australia and Japan but his career only really took off when he joined the Crusaders.

Nadolo is now one of the hottest wingers in World Rugby but it was not long ago that he was with the Waratahs and was unable to make the match day team.

The winger left Sydney and played for Bourgoin between 2010 and 11 before joining Japan’s NEC Green Rocket where he was brought to the attention of Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder.

Nadolo finished the 2014 season as Super Rugby’s top try scorer with Israel Folau and in 2015 he finished third on nine tries for the season.

The World Cup winger was also part of the Barbarians side that lost to Argentina at Twickenham two weeks ago and on his return he told Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach that he will not be extending his contract after next August.

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said Nadolo had made a huge impact both on and off the field.

“When Tabai Matson showed me some footage of Nemani back in 2013 and suggested we offer a contract to this guy, I was immediately excited about what he could bring to our team. He has exceeded our expectations both with his on-field performances and the energy and positivity that he has brought to the team environment,” Blackadder said.

“Nemani is one of those special players who only come along every once in a while. He is built like a tank but has skills and speed that defy his size. We will certainly miss his presence both on and off the field when he leaves, but we are grateful for the time we’ve had and can’t wait to unleash Nemsy on the competition again in 2016!”

Nadolo has praised the Crusaders for providing the opportunity to finally play Super Rugby and for shaping him into the player he has become.

“I was playing in Japan and I thought that was it for me. The faith these guys showed in me is something I’ll always be thankful for.

“They kick-started my career, they’ve given me the passion and love for the game again. They’ve pretty much moulded me into the player I am today,” he told Stuff.

Riach said that he understood why Nadolo had signed a three-year deal with Montpellier.

“There was an opportunity here and Nemani seized it. He’s got the rewards for that and it’s just really nice for us to be part of it,” said Riach.

“It was clear that’s where the next phase of his career is going to be. We wish him all the very best with it. We’re delighted he chose to spend three years of his rugby life in Christchurch.”

Riach admitted that the Crusaders would find it difficult to find a replacement with Nadolo’s strengths and skill set.

“He will be a difficult man to replace but that’s our job. He’s a unique man with the size, the agility, the speed and power …”

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