11:32am Saturday 30th November 2013
By Chris Kirwan
NATIONAL pride sees Newport Gwent Dragons number eight Netani Talei play his second game in less than 24 hours at Twickenham this afternoon.
The 30-year-old is set to feature for Fiji in their clash with the Barbarians (kick-off 2.30pm) after playing the full 80 minutes of a bruising encounter with Munster last night.
Talei produced a tremendous performance against the RaboDirect Pro12 leaders, carrying hard and setting up the only try of the game with a delightful pass to Matthew Pewtner.
But he didn’t have time to dwell on a heartbreaking 18-14 defeat – the 27-times capped back row forward swiftly hot-footed it to London to join up with his international teammates.
Former Fiji captain Talei has not featured for his country this autumn after visa issues meant he couldn’t travel to Portugal, Italy and Romania.
But his commitment to the cause means that he will be in the Flying Fijians’ squad against the Baa Baas, who boast formidable back row talent in Steven Luatua, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen and Luke Whitelock.
The fixture takes place outside of the IRB’s Test window and the Dragons needed the services of Talei against Munster because they were without Toby Faletau, who lines up for Wales against Australia this evening.
Talei's schedule may be hectic but it doesn't quite rival that of Mark Hughes' in 1987 when the striker played for Wales in Czechoslovakia and then flew straight off to play the second half of Bayern Munich's encounter with Borussia Mönchengladbach.
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