In rugby, a professional player takes paternity leave (and that doesn’t happen every day)

It is rather unprecedented in the world of professional rugby: Jim Nagusa, the Grenoble winger, leaves the field for a month to take care of his little girl born in early October.

Jim Nagusa in 2016 with the Montpellier jersey

He traded the oval balloons for the bottles. For a week now, Fijian Jim Nagusa, pro D2 player at FC Grenoble, has been on paternity leave. Night patrols already color his dark circles purple, but he wouldn’t regret his decision for the world.

«I’m already tired. But I enjoy every second. It was a personal decision, I already have a daughter who has just one year and I could not let my wife take care of both,» says the rugby player.

«One day I will no longer play rugby; family is a lifelong thing»

When his first daughter was born, the player was in Fiji surrounded by his relatives. The task was therefore easier. In France, it’s a whole different story. «I realize the difficulty of the task. It’s complicated every day, even getting up, doing something about your day. I’m really glad I made that decision, now I know it was good. It’s a daily struggle and I want to fight it here, with my wife, « says the father of the family.

However, the decision was not easy to take. A relative of the Fijian was to come and help the player’s wife manage this new arrival, but he was stranded in Fiji due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Jim Nagusa’s absence also comes at a delicate moment for the club. «I told the club a month before I left. Now is not the perfect time because there are a lot of injuries so it was a tough decision to make. But you know, all these things are going to go away. I love rugby, the fans and my teammates for sure, but I wanted to give my daughter the opportunity to have me by her side for her first moments. One day I will no longer play rugby; the family remains all the life.»

«I will come back with more force»

Since July 1, 2021, fathers have had one month (including a mandatory week), and no longer just two weeks, to take care of their newborn baby. They can also, if they wish, take an additional parental leave of one year, renewable twice. This is the first time that a professional rugby player in France has decided to take this leave since the entry into force of the measure.

A measure was taken by the French government and which also applies to professional sports clubs, which are considered as the employers of their players. «I’m grateful to be able to take this kind of time off. I’m happy to play in France!» The winger received the support of the National Rugby League as well as his teammates: «I received a lot of congratulatory messages, « he smiles.

Regarding the rest, and in particular his return to the Grenoble field, the player is not worried. «I am 100% sure that I will come back with more strength. The family has always been my motivation. If I am fulfilled in my personal life, it shows on the field. I am confident on this point, I do not have any doubts. My faith has a big role in all of this. I live day by day, I’m not worried about tomorrow because if my family is okay, everything will be okay. «

In short, Jim Nagusa is, at 34, a fulfilled dad. A former Montpellier winger, he arrived in Grenoble a year ago. Victim of a concussion, he has not yet played this season in the colors red and blue. There is no doubt that for his return to pro D2 he will be able to count on the support of his family, who will now take one more place in the stands.