Edinburgh Rugby coach Alan Solomons is reportedly on the cusp of signing another South Sea Island forward to further bolster his formidable pack.
Following hot on the heels of last week’s signing of Tongan international Viliami Fihaki, it appears Edinburgh are about to bring in more NSQ talent in the form of 24-year-old Fijian Sevens ace Viliame Mata.
The 6’5, 120kg Flanker and Lock has been in fine form in the abbreviated game scoring 8 tries in 20 games and earning a spot in the recently crowned World Series Champion’s squad for this summer’s Rio Olympics in the process. Whilst his Olympic adventure would obviously delay any potential arrival until late pre-season, it would be quite the coup to have a likely Olympic medal winner in the squad.
Whilst nothing has yet been officially confirmed, Fijian coach Ben Ryan has been quoted by the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation as saying:
“Bill has sacrificed a lot and he has managed to get an overseas contract after the Olympic Games as well which is fantastic and we helped him with that.”
The report goes on to say that the “Nakelo Tailevu native has pencilled a deal with Scotland’s Pro 12 club Edinburgh.”
We’ve also received confirmation from an Edinburgh source who says that, whilst the contract isn’t fully signed off, he’s being seen as a second rower in the Leone Nakarawa mould. This would make sense considering the capital side have just lost Alex Toolis to the Melbourne Rebels, but it would also signal more attacking intent from the oft conservative South African coach.
If reports are true and he does sign and go on to achieve a fraction of what his countryman Naka did at the Warriors, there’s little doubt he’ll become a fan favourite in no time.
In other news the SRU have announced the players who will be sent down to London Scottish next season as part of their performance partnership. The scaled back scheme now features 5 players, all from the U20’s, and will see them developed at the Athletic Ground in Richmond under the watchful eyes of Sean Lineen and Pete Richards.
The players are hooker Cameron Fenton, back-row Ally Miller, scrum-half Hugh Fraser, centre Tom Galbraith and wing Ben Robbins.
The young players will have their work cut out for them breaking into the Championship team with a raft of experienced faces in place, but the hope is that they follow on from the success of former players like George Horne and current Scottish qualified players like Lee Millar and Jamie Stevenson.
What do you think of the rumoured signing? Is this good news for Edinburgh?