LEONE Nakarawa has given Glasgow Warriors a major boost ahead of the resumption of play by agreeing a new one-year contract, subject to visa approval.

The forward is currently back home in Fiji as he awaits the birth of his child, but all being well will have returned to Scotland in plenty of time for the double-header against Edinburgh at the end of August.

“Leone is a world-class player and a really exciting addition to [the] Warriors squad for next season,” new head coach Danny Wilson said yesterday in a club statement. “His reputation as an attacking threat goes before him and as a coach I know from experience how difficult he is to prepare against.

“Leone offers expertise and experience in a variety of positions in the pack and I know how popular he is with players and supporters. I’m looking forward to working with him as we move forward into the new season and conclude the 2019/20 season.”

A lock forward who can also play to great effect at No.8, Nakarawa came back to Glasgow, his first professional club, on a short-term deal at the start of this year. He had become a free agent after French club Racing 92 tore up his contract for what they said was a number of disciplinary breaches, including reporting back late from the Rugby World Cup. It took several weeks for the Warriors to win the battle for the forward’s services, and from the start the then head coach Dave Rennie explained that in order to clinch the deal he was relying heavily on Nakarawa’s continued friendship with Glasgow players such as captain Ryan Wilson.

On signing, the player himself explained that had been a key element in his decision to return.

“I’ve remained close with my ex-team-mates during my time in Paris and they played a big role in my decision to come back,” he said.

Now 32, Nakarawa signed his first contract with Glasgow in the summer of 2013, having previously played for his country while a member of the Fijian armed forces. He was a vital member of the Warriors squad that won the PRO12 title in 2015 and was named man of the match in the final win over Munster.

Having brought himself to the attention of Europe’s biggest and wealthiest clubs with some outstanding displays for Gregor Townsend’s team, Nakarawa left Scotstoun for Paris in 2016. He initially went from strength to strength with Racing, and was named European player of the season at the end of the 2017-18 campaign.

Given the fact that the coronavirus pandemic brought rugby to a halt just two and a half months after his return to Scotstoun, it is no surprise that Nakarawa has made just a handful of appearances so far in his second spell as a Warrior. His return came in a Champions Cup pool match against Sale Sharks, in which he scored a try just minutes into the game, and he also had a couple of outings in the PRO14.

By agreeing a one-year contract, Nakarawa has left himself the option of moving on, very likely for the last time in his career, in the summer of 2021.

Meanwhile, former Glasgow openside Matt Smith has announced his retirement from the game aged just 23. Smith was recently released by the Warriors, having been on loan to Edinburgh earlier this year.

“I have decided to walk away from the sport that I truly love and which has given me so much joy,” Smith said in a post on social media. “I have had time to really reflect and come to realise that rugby is no longer enjoyable for me and that it had become a chore to get up for training. Thank you for giving me an amazing six years, Glasgow Warriors.”