Belfast Telegraph

Cockerill hopes Kunavula shines for Edinburgh

 

By Andy Newport

Edinburgh hope to have unearthed another Fijian star after signing forward Mesulame Kunavula on a long-term deal.

The Sevens ace was born in the same village as the Murrayfield outfit's No.8 Bill Mata, and head coach Richard Cockerill hopes he can make a similar impact to the PRO14 Player of the Year.

Kunavula can operate across the back-five and is equally adept at both flanker and lock. He will join Cockerill's squad immediately as they shape up for the new season.

Cockerill said: "Mesu really stood out during his time representing Fiji on the Sevens circuit and his ability to beat a man, as well as offload in the tackle, are really world class.

"We have been looking at adding players who offer something different - that X-factor - and I think Mesu brings that dynamic to an already talented squad.

"Like Bill before him, we're really looking forward to seeing how he can develop in a 15s environment and we're really hopeful that he can be a big player for us."

The 6ft 3in playmaker, who joined the police while representing Fiji Under-20s, was a silver medallist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, where his side were beaten by New Zealand in the Sevens final.

Kunavula said: "I'm delighted to start the next chapter of my career in Edinburgh. Bill Mata is a good friend of mine and he has told me so much about the club.

"I've really enjoyed my time on the Sevens circuit, but I felt it was the right time to move abroad and develop my own game further. The facilities in Edinburgh are world class and I'm only going to improve as a player.

"I'm really looking forward to getting involved."

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