Edinburgh could lose Fiji No.8 Bill Mata to Premiership
Bristol Bears are said to be interested in the acquisition of Fiji’s No.8 sensation, Viliame ‘Bill’ Mata, from Scottish URC outfit Edinburgh.
RugbyPass understands that Bristol’s Director of Rugby, Pat Lam, is showing keen interest in bringing the 32-year-old powerhouse to Ashton Gate.
Mata, who is widely regarded as one of the best No.8s in the game, currently commands a significant £450,000 salary, making him one of the highest-paid players in Scottish rugby. The prospect of luring Mata to Bristol is certainly a mouthwatering one for the Bears’ faithful, with ‘Big Bill’ widely regarded as one of the sport’s most dynamic and skilful No.8s.
Bristol’s current roster already boasts formidable back-row talent, with players like Magnus Bradbury, Fitz Harding, Jake Heenan, Dan Thomas and Steven Luatua among the ranks. However, the undeniable skills and experience that the 6’5, 115kg Fijian brings to the table appear to have caught the attention of Lam and the Bears’ recruitment team.
A cult hero in among the Scottish capital’s rugby fans, Mata would be a massive loss to Edinburgh, having become the first non-Scotland-qualified player to reach 100 appearances for the side last year.
Mata – who made his first appearance for Edinburgh in 2016 – was named Guinness PRO14 Players’ Player of the Year and nominated for the European player of the year after an impressive 2018-19 campaign.