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Edinburgh could lose Fiji No.8 Bill Mata to Premiership

By Ian Cameron
Viliame Mata of Edinburgh Rugby looks on during the Heineken Champions Cup game between Leicester Tigers and Edinburgh Rugby at Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium on March 31, 2023 in Leicester, England. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Bristol Bears are said to be interested in the acquisition of Fiji’s No.8 sensation, Viliame ‘Bill’ Mata, from Scottish URC outfit Edinburgh.

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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.

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Sam Warburton on club rugby in Wales

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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.

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Rugby 1 hours ago
How Queensland Reds can spark Schmidt's Wallaby revolution

interesting. I did see last year Queensland and Brad Thorn use some bokke moves like the 6-2 bench and a move the bulls did in bringing back the tap and go from 5 out instead of the line out and maul. There can be many errors in a lineout, you loose control esp. if ref calls a borderline not straight, jumping across line, etc etc it is out of your control, then the maul, a few rules can mess you up again in the eyes of a ref, or others, you lose control. At least in a tap and go you control the move and the play, just have to 1. catch the ball and 2 watch the jackling from opposition, 3 watch being held up over try line. WAY to go I reckon. *2024. Tap and go 5 meters out.* The axis is key, Lynagh McDermott (great cricket name) Wilson So Joe Schmidt will be watching and the Pacific Lions coaches are in Melbourne watching, poach city. I think if Q can get the Kiss of life not the Kiss of death they may well unlock that stacked backline. Vunivalu is improving. Kiss (and Brad Davis, Jonathan Fisher, Zane Hilton and Dale Roberson) and the progressive attacking style may work. He loves coaching. No pressure. Hell he knows the Bokke and Ireland, and time with ulster. Based on his league past he will understand how to break this flat line. He is a hands on skill set coach. One thing i am still waiting to see in union is the skill often shown in league, when 5 meters out they can kick into the post get the deflection and wrong foot opposition to score. Good Luck Queensland, hope you do well. They have the Hurricanes next Bula

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