WORCESTER Warriors’ big summer signing Melani Nanai revealed he has signed a three-year contract with the club.

The wing or full-back, captured from New Zealand Super Rugby side Blues, does not feel he has to change his game to shine in the physical Premiership competition.

Samoa-born Nanai is relishing playing on Warriors’ artificial pitch and stepping into Bryce Heem’s shoes after the New Zealander’s departure to Toulon.

With the World Cup ahead, Warriors do not begin their competitive campaign until Saturday, September 21, when Leicester Tigers visit Sixways in the Premiership Cup.

Here rugby reporter Geoff Berkeley speaks to Nanai, 26, about life at Sixways and his hopes for the future.


Are you enjoying life at Warriors so far?

It’s been very good. The club has been very helpful, the boys have been welcoming and I am just enjoying the time I have been here so far.

Everyone here was good to me when I got in so I just felt like I was in a good place.


What do you make of Worcester as a city?

I am based in Cheltenham as I know Michael Fats (Fatialofa) and he was talking to me about where to stay.

I am quite enjoying being there as well. A few of the boys are staying there so we meet up sometimes. They show me around and I am quite enjoying it.

Have you been eased into training since your arrival?

The trainers have been really good with me. They knew that I had a two-month break and I wasn’t really doing much.

When I came in the boys had been running for six weeks so they are trying to feed me in time by time in the training sessions and not really training me hard out but they are giving me the right amount.


How did your move come about?

I wasn’t signed to a Mitre10 contract back in New Zealand so I managed to get a release and came over early.

For me I felt my time in New Zealand was coming to an end so I just wanted to start here early and begin the next part of my journey.


What are your ambitions at Warriors?

I just want to do the best that I can. Hopefully play some good rugby and get a lot of wins for the club.

Obviously the goal for any team is to win silverware. I just want to try my best and give my all.


Are you excited by the prospect of playing in the Premiership?

Definitely. Watching the players play here, I just want to test my skills in these competitions and am just looking forward to the challenge.

I haven’t seen much of the game over here. I usually watch guys that I know.

Obviously I knew early on that I had signed with Worcester so I watched quite a few of their games and I enjoyed what I saw so I am just excited to get out there with the boys.


What do you hope to bring?

It’s about playing my game and that’s free-flowing, attacking rugby. That’s what I find is pretty enjoyable and helping the boys get the win.


What are your thoughts on the physical nature of the Premiership?

There is physicality in all rugby so it’s pretty much going to be the same as what I am used to back home.


Are you looking to put on extra weight?

I got picked doing what I am doing so I don’t really want to change anything about my game.


How long will you be at Worcester for?

I am contracted for three years so I am pretty excited.


What do you make of the Sixways artificial pitch?

It’s quite different. I have only been training on it for two weeks.

It’s a bit hard but I will probably get used to it.

I know of one club in New Zealand (College Rifles Rugby Club) that has one (an artificial pitch).

My brother, my sister and my wife play there so I am pretty familiar with it.

Our club rugby back home is like a muddy field so you won’t have to worry about that on this pitch.

It will help us. A lot of the boys say that you run faster on this pitch so I am definitely looking forward to it.


Are you aware of Bryce Heem?

I played with Bryce in his last Mitre10 Cup before he came over to Worcester so I was with him for one season.

He made a big impact in the competition over here and I am just looking to pretty much do the same thing if I can.

I just want to do anything I can to help the team.