FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – (Washington, DC July 31, 2020)  Old Glory DC welcomes back Apisai Naikatini, 35-year-old Fijian second row, for the 2021 season as a part of his two-year contract.

The lock came to Washington with previous Major League Rugby experience, having played with the 2019 MLR champions, the Seattle Seawolves.  Naikatini’s professional experience was a great source of confidence within the forward ranks.

“Signing Api for two years was important as a new franchise,” noted Head Coach Andrew Douglas “He had won two MLR championships, so that experience was vital in leading us into the season.  He gives players around him a lot of confidence, and his defensive game and off-load game are important to us.”

Naikatini had joined Old Glory’s internal player-led leadership group, guiding the team’s lineout and attack strategy. “He’ll be a leader for us again this coming season. His quiet, intelligent persona is important to our group, and hopefully he’ll play a major part in driving us forward in 2021,” said Coach Douglas.

“I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing team again and also to represent the DMV area, an area that has a proud history of rugby here in America,” said Naikatini.

At the halt of the season, Naikatini played 170 minutes through three matches with Old Glory DC in 2020.

Api has spent quarantine with his wife and children in the DMV area. “While I have not picked up any new skills on the field yet while in quarantine, I have picked up some baking skills instead – I’ve learned a couple of recipes including Fijian style custard pies that my kids thoroughly enjoy.”

Originally from Sigatoka, Fiji, the experienced lock and flanker joined the New Zealand provincial side Wellington for the 2007 Air New Zealand Cup.  In 2009, Naikatini took his skills to the Hurricanes, making his Super Rugby Debut.  Following his stint in Super Rugby, Naikatini enjoyed his international debut for Fiji during the 2012 IRB Pacific National Cup.

In the Spring of 2019, Naikatini signed with Major League Rugby’s Seattle Seawolves, where he was a part of the 2019 Championship side.  The following summer, Naikatini spent the summer playing second row with Waikato Rugby Union in New Zealand before signing with DC.

Welcome back to Old Glory DC, Apisai Naikatini!

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