Rugby

Clubs After Mata

“We are hoping he stays at Edinburgh or goes to a similar club that has the same quality of profes­sionalism that Edinburgh has,” he said.
22 Dec 2020 17:15
Clubs After Mata
Viliame Mata

Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter hopes that Edinburgh forward Viliame Mata sticks with a professional and a quality club if he leaves the Scottish club.

This was after Edinburgh rugby is struggling to keep the services of Mata who according to Rugby Pass have attracted the interest of some English and French clubs.

Mata’s current contract at Edinburgh expires at the end of the 2020/21 season, but France could be the most likely destination for the talented back rower.

Other Flying Fijians in Edinburgh are Eroni Sau, Le roy Atalifo and Mesulame Kunavula

Speaking to Sun sports Cotter said Mata needs to join clubs that have a similar environment to Ed­inburgh.

“We are hoping he stays at Edinburgh or goes to a similar club that has the same quality of profes­sionalism that Edinburgh has,” he said.

“We will be strictly monitoring him right through building up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

“He has just returned from a reasonably long term injury and it is important that he has excep­tional strength and conditioning support including nutrition and competition for team spots.”

During his time with Edinburgh Mata was crowned the Guinness Pro 14 Player’s Player award for the 2018-2019 season.

The Tailevu native has been a huge find for Ed­inburgh head coach Richard Cockerill’s side since joining in 2016, with his offloading ability, in partic­ular, being the toast of social media over the years: a breath-taking offload in a famous win over Tou­lon in the Heineken Champions Cup at the Stade Mayol in 2019 standing out.

Mata wasn’t selected in Vern Cotter’s Autumn Na­tions Cup squad due to injury and missed out in the Flying Fijians win over Georgia in Murrayfield.

It would be a big blow for Edinburgh, if Mata de­parts. According to Rugby Pass he could be the first among many stars to leave Scotland Rugby Union contracts with one of Scotland’s two PRO14 clubs.

While the Fijian is obviously not qualified for Scotland, Mata’s departure could add to the sense of a sudden, explosive Scottish exodus.

He represented his country at nine events on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens circuit, scoring 11 tries; and won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, scoring a try in Fiji’s 43-7 victory over Great Britain in the final of the 12-team tourna­ment.

He made a bright start for Edinburgh in 2016, bag­ging a brace of tries in the 59-17 European Chal­lenge Cup win over Timisoara Saracens.

Last week RugbyPass revealed Glasgow’s Adam Hastings had agreed to move to Gloucester, while elsewhere Scotland’s rookie wing monster Duhan van der Merwe has been linked with a big-money move to Worcester Warriors.

The fear for Edinburgh and Glasgow is that more high profile exits could open up the flood gates for further Scottish qualified talent to pursue trophies elsewhere. Scotland internationals Stuart Hogg, Jonny Gray and Finn Russell have all enjoyed fruit­ful moves abroad with Exeter Chiefs and Racing 92 respectively.

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj


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