SPORTS

Beast, Big Bill Strike

Mata’s former 7s coach Ben Ryan was particularly impressed with the big No. 8, saying it wasn’t the first time he had seen such “brilliance.” Fiji Airways Flying Fijians loose-forwards
14 Jan 2019 11:36
Beast, Big Bill Strike
L-R: Harlequins No. 7 Semi ‘Beast’ Kunatani, Edinburgh No. 8 Viliame 'Big Bill' Mata

Mata’s former 7s coach Ben Ryan was particularly impressed with the big No. 8, saying it wasn’t the first time he had seen such “brilliance.”

Fiji Airways Flying Fijians loose-forwards Viliame ‘Big Bill’ Mata and Semi ‘Beast’ Kunatani played sterling performances for their teams in the Champions Cup yesterday.

Nakelo, Tailevu native Mata was described by former All Blacks Ben Atiga as the best No.8 in World Rugby right now.

Mata’s former 7s coach Ben Ryan was particularly impressed with the big No. 8, saying it wasn’t the first time he had seen such “brilliance.”

“Big Bill Mata’s offload today was sublime. Not the first time I’ve seen his brilliance,” Ryan said on his Twitter account.

And Mata’s fellow Olympian Kunatani is taking ownership of the No.7 jersey for the Harlequins at The Stoop dismantling Grenoble 38-20.

Mata sparked a brilliant counter-attacking try for Edinburgh during a second-half comeback in their pool stage win over Toulon.

Edinburgh’s famous 28-17 win was just the third ever on Stade Mayol soil in European competition, after being down 12-8 at halftime they scored 20 unanswered points to hand Toulon a key loss.

After Toulon dropped the ball on a promising movement, Edinburgh quickly shifted the ball out wide to the barnstorming No.8, who weaved through traffic down past halfway before delivering a beautiful offload  for centre James Johnstone.

Praise for Mata

Mata was praised on social media for one of the best offloads ever seen, with former All Black Atiga calling him the best No. 8 in World Rugby right now.

“Bill Mata is a very good player,” head coach Richard Cockerill said post-match.

“He is very good with this team because we have a good balance to help him play – he’s a big player for us. But we’re a team that’s about everybody, about the unity of the team.

“Viliame is very important along with everybody else and he’ll be with us for a long time to come.”

Mata was judged the man-of-the-match for his performance.

Cockerill was pleased with the effort but insists the job is not done yet.

Although Mata’s Edinburgh’s tops their Pool they have a return clash with Nemani Nadolo and Nemani Nagusa’s Montpellier that will likely decide the pool winner at Murrayfield on Friday.

Kunatani’s ‘Quins will need to beat Agen this weekend to earn a place in the Champions Cup quarterfinals.

 

Results: Stade Français 35-14 Pau, Dragons 59-3 Timisoara Saracens, Perpignan 27-34 Bordeaux-Begles, La Rochelle 32-12 Zebre, RC Enisei 9-65 Bristol, Benetton 38-24 Agen, Ospreys 18-20 Worcester, Connacht 20-18 Sale Sharks, Harlequins 38-20 Grenoble, Clermont 48-40 Northampton. -Edited by Sheldon Chanel

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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