Mark Nawaqanitawase, born on September 11, 2000, is an Australian professional rugby union player of Fijian heritage. He plays as a wing for the Waratahs in Super Rugby and has also represented the Australian national team, the Wallabies.
Nawaqanitawase was born and raised in Burwood, New South Wales, and comes from a mixed Fijian background. In his youth, he initially played rugby league for the Concord-Burwood Wolves and Leichhardt Wanderers before transitioning to rugby union at the age of 14.
He attended St Patrick's College, Strathfield, where he played schoolboy rugby. Nawaqanitawase started his first-class career with Eastwood RFC in the Shute Shield competition, showcasing his skills as a wing. Known for his similarities in height, position, body type, and playing style to former Waratahs fullback Israel Folau, Nawaqanitawase has drawn comparisons to the renowned player.
In 2018, Nawaqanitawase made his professional debut with the NSW Country Eagles in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). He made an immediate impact, scoring his first professional try in a match against the Fijian Drua. He continued to excel, contributing three more tries during the season and helping the Eagles secure the Horan-Little Shield.
Following the 2019 NRC season, the competition underwent changes, and Nawaqanitawase signed with the Waratahs for the 2020 Super Rugby season. He made his Super Rugby debut against the Crusaders, scoring two tries in a spirited performance. Throughout his debut season, Nawaqanitawase played nine matches and crossed the try line four times.
Despite the Waratahs' challenging year in 2021, Nawaqanitawase extended his contract with the team until the end of the 2023 season. In 2022, he had a breakout season, starting in 10 out of 12 matches, scoring seven tries, and playing a significant role in the team's progress.
Nawaqanitawase has also represented Australia at various levels. He was part of the Australian U20 team that won the Oceania Rugby U20 Championship in 2019. In the World Rugby U20 Championship that same year, he played in all five matches, including the final against France, where he scored the second-fastest try in a World Rugby U20 Championship final.
In 2022, Nawaqanitawase received further recognition and was selected for the Australia A squad for the Pacific Nations Cup and a three-match series against Japan. He made significant contributions, scoring two tries in the series win against Japan. Later in the year, he earned his first call-up to the Australian national team for the Autumn internationals. He made his debut against Italy and followed it up with a standout performance against Wales, scoring two tries in a thrilling victory.
Mark Nawaqanitawase's rapid rise in Australian rugby, his impressive performances, and his natural talent as a winger have made him an exciting prospect for the Waratahs and the Wallabies.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Nawaqanitawase has been named in the training squad for Australia.
|2020 - present|
|2022 - present|
|2019 - 2022|
|NSW Country Eagles
|2019 - 2022|
|2022 - 2022|
|2022 - 2023|
|St Patrick's College NSW