Billy Ngawini

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Billy Ngawini (born in Auckland, New Zealand, 24 August 1981) is a professional rugby union player. Now a naturalised Italian, he plays internationally for the Italian national rugby union team (sevens) [1] and club rugby for Rugby Rovigo Delta in the National Championship of Excellence and Amlin Challenge Cup in Europe. He has previously played in the National Provincial Championship and rugby league in the National Rugby League for the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Gold Coast Titans. He is well known in the rugby world for his stepping ability.[2]

Early career

Ngawini began his career in rugby union, having been contracted to the Waikato Chiefs Super 12 franchise for four years beginning 2001. In 2001 he was also selected in the All Black 7s training squad with the likes of Joe Rokocoko and Eric Rush.

Ngawini switched to rugby league in 2004, attracting national media attention in a standout performance for the NZ A side that beat the Kangaroo XIII in a 2005 Test.[3]

Ngawini featured in Ngati NRL documentary on Maori TV, which follows a number of Maori boys trying to crack the Australian NRL competition.

Bulldogs career

Debut: Vs Parramatta – 14 May 2006 Dog Years: (2) 2006, 2007

Ngawini joined the Canterbury Bulldogs in 2006 as a halfback, but was developed into playing at hooker.

He received the opportunity to play in the NRL in Round 10 against the Parramatta Eels. He went on to play a further two games in the top grade against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks the following week and then in Round 14 against the Canberra Raiders.

Gold Coast Titans

Ngawini moved from the Bulldogs to the Gold Coast Titans for the 2008 NRL season.

Debut: vs Wests Tigers, 7 September 2008

Gold Coast Breakers

Ngawini left the Gold Coast Titans at the end of the 2008 NRL season to move back to rugby union, and began the transition by joining the Gold Coast Breakers squad in the Queensland Premier Rugby.

Debut: Vs Souths – 4 April 2009

He made an exciting start to the 2009 season for the Breakers, playing at fullback and first-five. His excellent footwork, fast pace, accurate passing and deft offloads assisted in many scoring plays. Helped the Breakers climb to second in the competition table after eleven rounds.

Despite only playing the first half of the season (due to his move to Leinster), Ngawini had the third highest number of votes in the Alec Evans Medal for the best and fairest player in the Queensland Premier Rugby.

During his time playing rugby union on the Gold Coast, he was also selected to play for the Queensland Reds 2nd XV.

Leinster Rugby

He played with Leinster Rugby at the beginning of the 2009-10 Magners League. He was selected for the Leinster squad for the pre-season match vs Rugby Nice Côte d'Azur Université-Racing, scoring an impressive try in the 66th minute on debut for Leinster. He also played for Leinster versus London Irish.

Visa issues prevented his continuation with Leinster.

Nice Rugby

Ngawini signed with Rugby Nice Côte d'Azur Université-Racing (RNCA) in 2009.

Italian Super 10

After three hugely successful years with Rugby Club I Cavalieri Prato including a well publicised performance against Stade Francais[4] in the Amlin Challenge Cup, Ngawini moved to Rugby Rovigo Delta as part of an extensive recruitment drive by the club.

He quickly became a crowd favourite at Rugby Rovigo Delta, scoring 15 tries in his first season alone, winning the accolade of most tries scored in Italy in the 2013/14 season.[5]

References

External links