Peceli Nacamavatu will return to help Aberdeen Grammar’s cause tomorrow – just days after returning to home soil after duty of a very different kind.
The serviceman, a soldier in the 39 Engineer Regiment, has been absent from the Rubislaw line-up due to a three-week stint in the Falklands with his army colleagues.
Aberdeen head coach Kevin Wyness has opted to immediately restore the talismanic player to his team for this weekend’s home fixture against Currie in the Premiership and insists his exertions overseas over the past month will not hinder his contribution on the park. Wyness said: “When a player has been away for several weeks you might be tempted to ease them back in, but in Naka’s case that is never a concern.
“As a soldier his life is built around being strong and fit, mentally and physically, so there is absolutely no question he will be in good shape.
“He is a very important player for us and Naka’s return is a big boost to the team and the squad. He has a spark that brings something different into the mix, as well as very valuable experience.”
Nacamavatu’s inclusion in the centre means a switch of position for Will Wardlaw, who will revert to full-back, and the head coach has praised Wardlaw for his versatility.
He said: “The changes are absolutely no reflection on Will’s performances – he has been man of the match on two occasions already this season and is a very important player for us. The fact he can operate in more than one position is a bonus for us and allows us that flexibility.
“Will was invited to train with the Scotland sevens squad earlier this month and has travelled through for two sessions with them, which is another indication of the way he is developing.”
After last week’s defeat by reigning champions Ayr, Wyness is looking for a positive response from his Aberdeen charges when Currie head north on Saturday.
The Rubislaw side have captain Greig Ryan missing due to a shoulder injury, with Harry Duthie taking over as skipper and Rob Cessford added to the line-up.
On the bench, there are welcome returns for Matty Dixon, Cammy Turner and Stevie Aitken after injury. Wyness added: “Losing Greig is a blow, but we have a number of players working their way back to fitness and adding to the depth of the squad. They are all quality players – Cammy is a Scotland under-20 international, for example – and that bodes well for the weeks and months ahead.”