Teen Waratah Nawaqanitawase is the real deal

Mark Nawaqanitawase of the Waratahs is tackled during the pre-season Super Rugby match against the Highlanders at Leichhardt Oval. Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

He's got the game to stump opponents and the name to torment commentators, but emerging NSW Waratahs back Mark Nawaqanitawase clearly has a bight future.

The 19-year-old Junior Wallabies representative announced himself in senior ranks with an eye catching display in the Waratahs 40-21 trial win over the Highlanders in Sydney on Friday evening.

Some enterprising runs and audacious flick passes impressed onlookers including new Waratahs coach Rob Penney, who called him a "gem" and told the media that he rated him a contender for selection in the opening round of Super Rugby in two weeks time.

"I'd have to hear it from him, I don't want to get ahead of myself," said Nawaqanitawase, who received a big ovation from the crowd when he came off near the end of the four-quarter match at Leichhardt Oval.

"I did alright, I guess."

That the did, and while Penney will probably opt primarily for experience in the opening game given it is away to three-time defending champions the Crusaders, Nawaqanitawase is obviously on his coach's radar.

Although he played wing for the Junior Wallabies in their World Rugby U20 Championship final loss to France, in which he scored a try, Nawaqanitawase played fullback at school.

With Israel Folau gone and his initial replacement Kurtley Beale a leading option to take over from the departed Bernard Foley at five-eighth, Nawaqanitawase is definitely a contender for the No.15 jersey.

While the Tahs chances in 2020 have been talked down after losing a host of experienced players, Friday's trial provided some hope, with Penney also encouraged by what he witnessed.

Several of Nawaqanitawase 's Junior Wallabies colleagues came off the bench and performed well, giving Waratahs fans some exciting glimpses of what the future may hold,

"They didn't have any nerves so it was good to watch. Everyone looked comfortable in where they were," Nawaqanitawase said.

His father played rugby in Fiji before turning to league in Australia, and Nawaqanitawase participated in the 13-man code for six years until the age of 14, when he was encouraged to switch codes as he was at a rugby playing school in Sydney.

His nickname is Marky Mark, clearly much easier to say than his multisyllabic tongue twister of a surname.

"All through school all the teachers and my mates tried to pronounce it," Nawaqanitawase said.

"I just told them Mark is easier instead of having to try 17 times to get it."