The NSW Waratahs have added Junior Wallaby, Mark Nawaqanitawase to their senior squad for the 2020 Vodafone Super Rugby season.
Nawaqanitawase is also a Gen Blue Academy graduate, joining the NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) program in late-2018 after being offered a two-month trial from Academy Coach, Shannon Fraser.
It marks a meteoric rise for the St Pat’s Strathfield product who made a late switch to rugby, resulting in a delayed arrival on the NSWRU pathway.
Since that time Nawaqanitawase has represented Australia at the Oceania U20 Championships and World Championships in 2019 – establishing himself as an exciting attacking prospect.
Named the Dave Dennis Elite Youth Development Player of the Year in 2019, Nawaqanitawase has signed a three-year deal with the NSW Waratahs – keeping him in sky blue until the end of 2022.
Incoming NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney said that he was extremely impressed with what he’d seen of the young flyer.
“I’ve had the opportunity to see some of Mark’s performances for both the Junior Wallabies and the NSW Country Eagles – he’s an exceptional young player with some fantastic athletic ability,” Penney said.
“He’s a guy that came into our system later in his development, and after speaking with our coaching staff it’s clear he’s worked extremely hard to seize his opportunity and make the most of it.
“That sort of approach will serve him well as he enters his first full, professional pre-season and I’m really excited about the potential of both Mark and the wider group of young players we have at the [NSW] Waratahs.”
Nawaqanitawase said he was thrilled to be joining the NSW Waratahs senior squad after a whirlwind 12 months.
“It pretty much started back this time last year when Shannon [Fraser] offered me the chance to trial with Gen Blue,” said Nawaqanitawase.
“I was so grateful for the opportunity then and I feel the same way now coming into the senior squad for the [NSW] Waratahs.
“Thanks to the support and guidance of everyone here at NSW Rugby over the last 12 months I’ve been given the chance to represent my country, which was a huge honour for me and my entire family.
“To be part of the Super Rugby squad for 2020 is something I’m really excited about.”
Nawaqanitawase will continue his involvement with Eastwood in the Shute Shield in 2020.