One of the legends of the game, Isa Nacewa’s career spanned almost every position in the back-line as well as both hemispheres.
Now busy in the finance industry in Auckland, Isa talks about the lessons he’s brought into his working life from Rugby, looks back on his career, talks about the messages he has for young players coming into the game, the many benefits of Players Associations and the best players he’s lined out beside.
Having played with the Auckland Blues and Leinster, as well as togging out for Fiji (that’s another story), Isa speaks with experience about all things relating to the game.
However he sounds a cautionary note to young players, encouraging them to get an education or some form of qualification while they’re playing.
“You need a positive distraction. Whether that is someone with a young family and you want to be a great parent, going home and having the ability to park the Rugby… for me it was the kids.
“I can’t stress how important it is to get a qualification behind you while you can. Something. Anything. A trade or a degree. At the time, you think it’s such a hassle and exams often take place when Rugby finals are on. Even if you don’t think about your qualification for another five years…just get it done.
He also had a positive message about the Players’ Associations he benefited from in Ireland and New Zealand.
“It’s incomparable how much influence the Players’ Associations had. It started when the first PDM (Player Development Manager) came along at the Auckland Blues and we were able to benefit from it. I walked away with a Bachelor in Business Studies, which was so hard to do while playing Rugby. There has just been so much sound and good advice from the associations in New Zealand and Ireland.
Nacewa pulled on the Fiji jersey once but never played for the Islanders again. That one appearance potentially ruled him out of ever playing for the All Blacks or Ireland. He has no regrets but has a message for younger players who may find themselves in a similar situation.
“The earlier on players understand their eligibility (the better)…just learn that status early on. You don’t know where your life is gonna go or where you’re going to end up. So sit down and get educated from the Players’ Associations because one wrong or poor decision and your eligibility is captured.
“It’s not a regret for me but I can see how certain decisions might affect other people far more, especially around eligibility.”
In Episode 3 of the Players Podcast, Isa even tells us about the ol-skool gangsta rap he listened to on the way to the game! Listen above or on iTunes or Soundcloud and share, give us your feedback and check out rugbyplayers.org for more!
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