Leone Nakarawa’s proposed move to Ulster next season has fallen through after the former Glasgow Warriors star failed a medical with the Irish province.  

The recruitment of the 33-year-old Fijian back-five forward was announced by Ulster in January as a like-for-like replacement for Marcell Coetzee, who is returning to his native South Africa next season on a three-year deal to play for the Bulls – but Nakarawa, who was a superstar for Glasgow Warriors during his first spell at the club between 2013 and 2016, has not been the player he was in his prime since at least as far back as the 2019 World Cup. 

“We can today confirm that, on receipt of a detailed medical report following an examination by the club at the weekend, Leone Nakarawa will no longer be joining Ulster Rugby for next season," said a club spokesperson. 

“This outcome is disappointing for both the player and Ulster Rugby, however, we will continue to build strongly with our preparations for next season. We wish Leone the very best for the future. Further updates on the 2021-22 season squad will be released in due course.”  

Nakarawa was voted European Player of the Year in 2018 but was fired by Racing 92 in December 2019 after returning late to the club following the World Cup, at which point he was accused of "a total lack of team spirit and marked insubordination" and of "abandoning his post". 


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Glasgow Warriors threw him a career lifeline in January 2020 when they brought him back to Scotstoun on a short-term deal to the end of the season, and despite managing just three appearances during the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign he still managed to pick up a year-long contract-extension last summer. 

However, he was late returning to Scotland from Fiji after lockdown, and badly out of shape when he did turn up. He has managed just three starts and four bench appearances this season, and has not featured since playing the final 19 minutes of the team's lacklustre 46-19 loss at the start of their Rainbow Cup campaign in early April. He has not been injured, just didn’t merit selection ahead of Scott Cummings, Rob Harley, Richie Gray and Kiran McDonald. 

Nakarawa is out of contract at Glasgow this summer. It is not clear what his next step will be, or even if he will choose to stay in professional rugby.