Good friends Albert Nikoro and Semisi Masirewa have reunited at the Western Force this year but their reunion won’t all be rosy as the wingers battle for a Super Rugby starting spot.
The pair were teammates at ITM Cup side Waikato in the past and Masirewa’s signing at the Perth franchise has brought the competitive pair back together.
“It’s always been competitive between me and him,” Masirewa said.
“I guess it’s natural because we both play the same position and all we want to do is win.
“We both just hate losing. He even introduced me to poker and for the first time he loses!”
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Masirewa who broke his ankle last year and feared that his Super Rugby dream may be over.
“As soon as I did my ankle I thought it was going to affect my Super Rugby career and dream but I was lucky the Force offered me a contract,” he said.
Masirewa, who was in hot demand in New Zealand before his injury with the Hurricanes, Chiefs and Highlanders all chasing his signature, is keen to make up for lost time at his new home.
“When I got here the boys had been working hard for pre-season. Sitting on the sidelines watching them work hard was pretty tough,” he said.
“Now that I’m back full training it’s pretty good to pay them back and earn the respect, show them I’m working hard as well.”
While Masirewa is pushing through his first Super Rugby pre-season, Nikoro has noticed a change in the Perth side in his second time around.
“I was around last year and compared to what Foles (head coach Michael Foley) has introduced this year it’s a whole new ball game,” he said.
“The style we’ve been training is what I’m used to, running rugby, exciting rugby instead of what we had last year.
“The team is a lot tighter, camaraderie and brotherhood is really strong, (it’s) really close knit compared to what we had last year.”
The Western Force play their opening pre-season match against last year’s minor premiers the Hurricanes on February 3.
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