Suliasi Vunivalu

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Suli Vunivalu
Suliasi Vunivalu Storm.jpg
Personal information
Full nameSuliasi Vunivalu
Born (1995-11-27) 27 November 1995 (age 26)
Suva, Fiji[1]
Height192 cm (6 ft 4 in)
Weight99 kg (15 st 8 lb)
Playing information
Rugby league
PositionWing
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2016–20 Melbourne Storm 111 86 0 0 344
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2017–20 Fiji 8 12 1 0 50
Rugby union
PositionWinger
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
2021– Queensland Reds 7 5 0 0 25
As of 13 July 2020
Source: [2][3]

Suliasi Vunivalu (born 27 November 1995) is a professional rugby union footballer who plays for the Queensland Reds in the Super Rugby.

He previously played professional rugby league for the Melbourne Storm in the NRL, and Fiji at international level.

Early life[edit]

Vunivalu was born in Suva, Fiji, and grew up in the province of Bua and was educated at Lelean Memorial School.[5][1] Vunivalu then moved to Auckland, New Zealand at the age of 16[1] and played rugby union for Saint Kentigern College. When Vunivalu turned 17, he made the Blues development team after impressing in schoolboy rugby. He was then signed by the Melbourne Storm at 18 years old.[6]

Rugby league career[edit]

Melbourne Storm[edit]

Vunivalu playing for the Storm

In 2014 and 2015, he played for the Melbourne Storm's NYC team.[7]

2016–17[edit]

Vunivalu graduated to the Storm's Queensland Cup team, Eastern Suburbs Tigers.[8] In Round 7, he made his NRL debut for the Storm against the Wests Tigers,[9][10] scoring two tries on debut.[11] He went on to score doubles in his second, third, fifth and eighth games also,[12][13] gaining top position on the club's try-scorers list for the 2016 season.

On 3 September, he set the record for most tries in a debut season record by scoring his 22nd try of the season against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, eclipsing the previous record of 21 tries set by Israel Folau back in 2007. He was also the top-try scorer of the season. On 2 October, he played in the 2016 NRL Grand Final loss against Cronulla-Sutherland.[14]

Early in the season, Suliasi was selected for his Fiji Bati international debut at the Pacific Rugby League Test against Tonga, played at the Campbelltown Stadium in Sydney on 6 May.[15]

On 31 August, Vunivalu extended his contract with the Melbourne club until the end of the 2020 season.[16] He was part of the Melbourne's premiership winning team against the North Queensland Cowboys in the 2017 NRL Grand Final.[17]

Vunivalu was selected in the Fiji 24-man squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.[18] On 28 October in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, he scored 2 tries in the 58-12 victory over the Hawks at 1300SMILES Stadium.

On 5 November, Vunivalu scored his hat trick tries in the record scored of 72–6 victory over Wales at 1300SMILES Stadium. On 10 November, he scored his second hat trick of tries in the 60th minute mark after beating Italy in the 38-10 win at Canberra Stadium. After the Bati reached the semi-final, he was nominated for the Rugby League World Golden Boot Award, which was won by Storm teammate Cameron Smith.

2018–19[edit]

On 16 February 2018, Vunivalu played in the 2018 World Club Challenge victory over Leeds, scoring a try. Vunivalu repainted Fiji Bati in the 2018 Pacific Rugby League Tests. He played in the 2018 NRL Grand Final loss against the Sydney Roosters.[19]

Vunivalu played 24 games for Melbourne in 2019, scoring 11 tries, including a hat-trick in Melbourne's 22-10 round 2 victory over the Canberra Raiders at GIO Stadium. He also played for the Fiji Bati in the mid season and post season tests. Melbourne finished as Minor Premiers in the 2019 NRL season and were favourites to win the premiership but were defeated in the preliminary final against the Sydney Roosters.[20]

2020[edit]

In his final season with the Melbourne, Vunivalu played 17 games, including Melbourne's 26–20 win over Penrith in the 2020 NRL Grand Final, where he scored a try, his 14th of the season.

Rugby union career[edit]

Queensland Reds[edit]

In December of 2019 it was confirmed by the Queensland Reds that Vunivalu signed with the rugby union team, returning to the sport for the first time since he was eighteen-years old. Vunivalu signed a two-year deal to begin in 2021.[21][22]

International career[edit]

Rugby union[edit]

Based on World Rugby's laws, at international level, Vunivalu is eligible to represent the country of his birth: Fiji, and the country of his 36 consecutive month residency: Australia.[23][24]

Vunivalu was brought in to the Wallabies training camp on 11 November 2020, less than a week after their two-point win over the All Blacks.[25][26] Coach Dave Rennie stated, after speculation of Vunivalu's place in the Wallabies squad for the Tri Nations Series, that "there’s no plan to use Suli in the two Argentina games unless we have got a spate of injuries," adding, "the key for him is to earn the right to play and [we are] keen to reward the guys who have been working for the last three months."[27]

Honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c NRL. "Vunivalu becomes #171 - Storm". Melbournestorm.com.au. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  2. ^ "Suliasi Vunivalu - Career Stats & Summary". Rugby League Project. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  3. ^ loverugbyleague
  4. ^ "Meet Suli Vunivalu". NRL. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  5. ^ Baleilevuka, Rusiate (21 January 2015). "Vanivalu signs with Melbourne Storm". Fiji Village. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  6. ^ Raj, Amit (18 December 2014). "Suliasi to join Bati star". Fiji Times. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  7. ^ "V". Nyc Database. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  8. ^ NRL. "Rd.2 Feeder Team Announcement - Storm". Melbournestorm.com.au. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Updated team lists: Wests Tigers v Storm". NRL.com. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  10. ^ NRL. "Late mail: Round 7 - Storm". Melbournestorm.com.au. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  11. ^ "Storm clinch golden point victory". NRL.com. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Warriors suffer embarrassing 42-0 defeat to Melbourne Storm on Anzac Day". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  13. ^ "Storm monster Titans in seven-try slaughter". NRL.com. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  14. ^ "NRL Team Lists". Nrl.com. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 3 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Fiji Bati squad for Tonga Test Match". Asia Pacific RL. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  16. ^ Ward, Roy (31 August 2017). "Melbourne Storm re-sign Suliasi Vunivalu, Josh Addo-Carr on multi-year deals". Retrieved 20 October 2017 – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  17. ^ "Perfect Storm claim 2017 premiership". Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  18. ^ "World Cup squads: Every team, every country". Retrieved 20 October 2017.
  19. ^ "Good Will Chambers hunted by Latrell Mitchell ... again". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  20. ^ "Roosters 14-6 Storm: NRL preliminary final – as it happened". The Guardian.
  21. ^ "St.George Queensland Reds sign NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu for 2021 & 2022". Reds Media Unit. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  22. ^ "Vunivalu to leave Storm for rugby union". National Rugby League. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  23. ^ "Regulation 8: Eligibility to play for national representative teams" (PDF). World Rugby. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  24. ^ Williams, Matt (7 September 2019). "Matt Williams: Residency rule endangers credibility of international game". The Irish Times. Retrieved 6 December 2020. World Rugby has a “residency rule” known as Regulation 8. It states that “A player may represent a country after they have resided there for 36 months”
  25. ^ Phillips, Sam (10 November 2020). "Vunivalu called into Wallabies squad". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  26. ^ Doran, Christy (13 November 2020). "Tuqiri, Folau ... Vunivalu: Meet the Wallabies' new recruit who lit up the NRL". Rugby.com.au. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  27. ^ Decent, Tom (12 November 2020). "Why Rennie won't pick Vunivalu for the Wallabies this year". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 December 2020.

External links[edit]