SPOTLIGHT: Some “simple advice” from Wallabies coach Eddie Jones has Suliasi Vunivalu confident about his rugby future with the wing signing a new deal until the end of 2025.
The former Melbourne Storm star, who has made one brief Wallabies appearance in a stuttering transition to the new code, has inked a contract extension with Rugby Australia and the Queensland Reds.
Battling injuries early in his rugby career, Vunivalu has slowly started to find his feet this season but faces fierce competition for a World Cup berth in France.
Last year Vunivalu made a three-minute cameo for the Wallabies against Jones’s England – his sole Test appearance.
But the Test coach, who re-joined the Australian camp early this year, has alway been a big fan.
Jones selected the 27-year-old in his first training camp squad in April and says he has the “potential to be a Test match-winner”.
“I’m really pleased how he’s been progressing through Super Rugby and even happier that he’s committed his future to Queensland and the Wallabies,” he said.
Vunivalu said Jones had always been positive about his rugby transition, backing him to be a success after he helped the Storm to two premierships during his NRL (National Rugby League) career.
“In our first camp his simple advice was just to keep it simple – do what you do best and score tries and then go and look for work,” Vunivalu said on Wednesday.
“I’ve been doing that these last couple of weeks, trying to get into the [World Cup] team.”
The Fijian-born wing has scored 15 tries in his first 26 games for the Reds, debuting in the XV-player game in 2021.
Now fully fit after multiple hamstring issues, he said he was enjoying playing rugby with the Reds.
“This year has been different to the last couple of years without any injuries and that builds confidence – it’s been six weeks now without any niggle or cramps and I’ve been playing 80 minutes so I take confidence from that,” said Vunivalu.
“I’ve learned plenty with the Reds and Wallabies and know there’s a long way to go if I want to achieve my goals.
“It’s an exciting year for the Wallabies with the World Cup. I’m doing everything I can to be a part of it after the Super Rugby season.”