Chris Boyd praises 'goal-kicking' Sam Matavesi's Northampton impact
Chris Boyd has paid a fulsome tribute to the impact Sam Matavesi is making at Northampton with the live-wire hooker having a key role in the 44-8 thumping win over Newcastle and the director of rugby claims the Fijian is the club’s “ second best goal kicker” behind Dan Biggar.
Boyd, who the Mail on Sunday speculates is to return to New Zealand at the end of the season and will then act as a long-distance consultant, is a big fan of Matavesi who has become an integral part of the Saints and Fijian packs.
Boyd, who joined the club in 2018, has been able to rely on Matavesi’s consistently impressive form during a season of fluctuating fortunes for Northampton who are currently fifth in the Premiership and will be home to Ulster in the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday.
Matavesi, who has won 18 caps and turns 30 on Thursday, can also play as a no.8 and arrived at Franklin’s Gardens from Championship outfit Cornish Pirates after playing in all four of Fiji’s pool games at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. His brother Josh won 24 caps for Fiji and is currently in Japan while his other brother Joel is at Newcastle.
The Matavesi boys were all born in Cornwall where their family was based and Boyd said: “Sam is probably our second best goal kicker as well so there is not much he cannot do. He can kick goals, kick drop goals and is very skilful He is a top fellow and is unbelievably energetic and the only Cornishman in the Fiji team and is a great asset who can seriously play.”
Boyd expects to make changes for the Ulster game and will have a big call to make over his half backs with Wales outside half Biggar and England scrum half Alex Mitchell becoming vital to the team’s fortunes.
Biggar scored 17 points at Newcastle and Boyd added: “ I don’t know if you call it rest, regeneration or rotation. We have some guys who have played six or eight games in a row. Dan and Alex have played together a lot now. It was a big loss for us when Cobus Reinach went to France but we knew Alex was a quality player and would step up and do well. He is a very good footballer.”
"I would never say I should play for England, there are so many good back rowers in England, but if I can keep going, keep performing, then the choice will be the boss’s." ???????
— The XV Rugby (@TheXV) January 9, 2022
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