Exeter Chiefs centre Sireli Naqelevuki to try out forward role

Sireli Naqelevuki
Injuries restricted Naqelevuki to just four LV= Cup and two Heineken Cup appearances last season

Exeter are to experiment using Fijian centre Sireli Naqelevuki as a forward.

The 33-year-old, who has scored 11 Premiership tries, is recognised for his physical style of ball-carrying.

Naqelevuki, who joined the Chiefs from Super Rugby side Stormers in 2010, is set to play a number of games in the pack for Exeter's academy.

"Sireli is training a fair bit with the forwards with a view that we're going to have a look at him as a back-rower," said Exeter head coach Rob Baxter.

"We'll see how that goes in a few pre-season run-outs. We are looking at him as a ball-carrying back-row option."

And the Exeter boss says Naqelevuki, who has played eight times for Fiji, is well suited to a role in the pack.

"It'll be relatively easy for Sireli to drop back to playing in the backs if that's what we decide to do, but he's spending a bit of time with the forwards and that gives us the opportunity to have a look at him in a couple of the academy run-outs," said Baxter.

"Whether we get to look at him in one of the main pre-season games will depend on how those outings go.

"It is a bit of an experiment but the thing with Sireli is that he's a very natural rugby player, so far he has dropped into most of it very well.

"If you think of Sireli's strengths, if we can get him on the ball a little bit more in the back-row we may make the most of his best attributes."

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