Counties Manukau PIC Steelers veteran lock/loose forward Sikeli Nabou racked up his 50th game for the province last week Tasman.
It marks a significant achievement for an unsung hero that has toiled hard for the PIC Steelers and played a role in some of the Union’s greatest achievements.
The Fijian test star made his debut for the province nine years ago and is now enjoying his second stint with the team.
“I am just proud to have achieved that goal for the Union,” the humble and quietly-spoken Nabou said. “They have done a lot for me over the years and it is a Union that I am proud to play for.
“I am proud to play with all of my teammates as well and they shared this honour with me and my family.”
Nabou recalls his very first match for the PIC Steelers.
“It was 2009 against Manawatu and we lost but I just remembered that I scored the first try – it was our season opener as well,” he explained.
Nabou was part of the team that won promotion into the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership in 2012 and then etched his name into folklore by starring in the Ranfurly Shield win over Hawke’s Bay in 2013.
When you think of all the legendary players that have played for the Union – from Pat Walsh and Bob Lendrum to Bruce Robertson and Errol Brain to modern stars like Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vidiri – none had played in a winning Ranfurly Shield team.
But Nabou’s side of 2013 changed the course of history and the big lock scored a crucial try to power them to victory.
That is “the highlight of my rugby career for sure,” he said. “It was special – we had a really good team.
“Most of us looked up to players like Jonah, Joeli and Tana, who was our coach. They were our idols.
“To win it we were thankful that we achieved something great for the Union.”