SPORTS

New Fijian Crusader

Canterbury Crusaders new recruit Manasa Mataele is looking forward to the 2017 Super Rugby season. The 20-year-old, Vanuavatu native from Lau with maternal links to Yasawa-i-rara made his mark during
03 Jan 2017 10:00
New Fijian Crusader

Canterbury Crusaders new recruit Manasa Mataele is looking forward to the 2017 Super Rugby season. The 20-year-old, Vanuavatu native from Lau with maternal links to Yasawa-i-rara made his mark during last year’s Mitre 10 competition in New Zealand.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday, Mataele said he is about to head back into their second phase of pre-season training which starts on January 9.

“I got my own plans on how I can improve as a player,” the dashing Fijian winger said.

“We are going to go through the toughest of all training we’ve had. All I’m trying to do is to push my boundaries and limits in training and for that I’ve got to work hard on and off the field.”

Mataele said although being new to the professional environment, he has been told of what is expected of him.

“I am working through it day by day. One of my biggest aim this year as a first year Super Rugby player is to get into the 23-member squad. That is to either come off the bench or to even make the starting team. But in order for me to get there I just need to keep working hard, keep the faith that all is working for my good.”

 

TOUGH NEIGHBOURHOOD

The former Marist Brothers High School (MBHS) student looks up to his late grandparents Lepani and Maca Nanovu as his role models.

“Well my biggest inspiration is my grandparents. As a young rugby player one thing that motivates me to achieve my dreams is through my faith in God and family. Looking back I couldn’t be where I’m today if it wasn’t for God’s guidance and blessings. Also with God, while growing up I was able to differentiate between good and bad and I’m grateful because this is all part of God’s plan.”

Mataele said, he grew up in Raiwai who at that time was known as one of the troubled neighbourhoods in the country.

“I’m forever grateful that I could do something better with the talent God blessed me with.

“And for mum and dad and all my family I’m forever grateful for their love towards me especially my late grandparents. The teachings they gave me while I was young boy built-up my faith in God.”

 

BEST TRY

Looking back last year, Mataele says, the highlight of his career was when he scored a try against Hawkes Bay that also secured them the much needed bonus point.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

In 2010, he represented MBHS Coca-Cola Games in the junior boys’ long jump and won a silver medal.

In 2013, he took part in the intermediate boys’ category when he again won silver. Mataele also ran in the intermediate boys 4x100m relay team that won gold.

In July 2014, he represented MBHS in the Southern Zone secondary schools rugby competition.

He played at centre and scored a try in the Under-18 final against John Wesley College and also scooped the Man of the Match award.

Mataele was selected in the Fijian U18 team for the Tri Nations clash against Australia and New Zealand. He scored two tries in their 50-15 loss to Australia.

His performance during the tour made the Taranaki Rugby Academy invite him to join them as a development player where he played in their sevens and U19 teams in 2015.

In September 2015, he helped Taranaki beat defending champions, Wellington in the Jock Hobbs Memorial National U19 tournament where he scored two-tries. In August, last year, Mataele was a surprise inclusion into the Taranaki team for the Mitre 10 Cup competition.

Later that month, he made his debut against Hawke’s Bay scoring a sensational 50m try in their 55-28 win.

 

UNCLE SETA

He played alongside his uncle and All Black centre Seta Tamanivalu. While a student at Lelean Memorial School, Tamanivalu lived with the Mataele family.

In November, last year, Mataele was signed by Crusaders and joined his uncle Tamanivalu (who has switched from Chiefs) and winger Jone Macilai.

Mataele has also graduated with a Diploma in Building Construction and Architectural Technology from the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki. He returns back to New Zealand on Friday.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  paulini.ratulailai@fijisun.com.fj

 



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