Old Glory's stalwart Fijian lock Tevita Naqali has re-signed for another year with Old Glory DC. It will be the 29-year-old's fourth season with the team, having first signed on for the inaugural season in 2020. He played for the Australia u20 team while at university, turning pro with Fijian Drua in Australia's National Rugby Championship in 2018. He did stints in Global Rapid Rugby and Spain's División de Honor before landing in DC.

He has played a lot of rugby for Old Glory, with 30 caps, all but one as a starter, and 2,180 minutes. For context, that makes him the most used forward in team history by a healthy margin, and the third most used player overall. Primarily a lock, Naqali has also played at flanker and eight when injuries have required it.

The 2022 season was a little more muted for Naqali, as he missed five matches early in the season with injury. However, he still earned 11 caps, all starts, and 815 minutes with 2 tries to his name. On attack he's a consistent ball carrier, with his 5.3 meters gained per carry quite high for a crash-ball runner. He also had a reasonably high offload rate of 8.4% and beat 9 defenders. On defense he was a bit less stellar, however. He made 144 of his 175 tackles, which gives him the worst success rate among the forwards at 82%. Tackling was a big problem for the entire team last year, so hopefully he can get that number up a bit in 2023.

With Naqali's return confirmed, Old Glory's engine room will remain largely unchanged for the third year in a row. Lock has been one of the most stable and consistent positions for OGDC over the years, with the current trio of starters having established themselves in 2021. He will likely share time at the position with Stan South and Api Naikatini, and with the Naikatini getting up in years, we will likely see a Naqali and South as the starting pair.


Curious who has been signed and who is leaving? Check out our 2023 Signings Tracker for all the updates!


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