Wallabies recruit Suliasi Vunivalu has no regrets about his switch from the NRL, saying he is ready to try to emulate the success of his former Melbourne Storm teammate Marika Koroibete.
Mid-year Vunivalu was in two minds about joining the financially stricken code after signing a two-year deal with Rugby Australia and the Queensland Reds.
But with the 2020 NRL premiership in his pocket, and having experienced a taste of the Wallabies after being invited to their training camp, there are no second thoughts for the burly winger.
“I’m really enjoying it right now and I’ve moved on,” the 24-year-old said.
“I’m just trying to focus on this camp and learning as much as I can, and I’m looking forward to next year with the Queensland Reds.”
Vunivalu and Koroibete played together for a season at the Storm in 2016 before the latter went across to rugby.
Koroibete has since established himself as one of the game’s most dangerous wingers, winning the 2019 John Eales Medal as the best Wallabies player.
He was a stand-out in their upset win over the All Blacks last weekend.
Vunivalu said Koroibete, 28, was a player he looked up to.
“He’s one of the players I look out for and watch – he’s everywhere,” Vunivalu said.
“He’s been really helpful to me, coming in, and I’ve been learning heaps of stuff from him because he was the same a couple of years ago.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 13, 2020
Vunivalu has an advantage over other NRL recruits like Wendell Sailor and Mat Rogers in that he solely played rugby in Fiji and New Zealand before being lured to the Storm as an 18-year-old.
In Auckland he was in the Blues academy side with Wallabies prop Taniela Tupou and centre Irae Simone.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said he would give Vunivalu some key areas to work on when he headed to the Reds.
But for now it was just about getting a feel for the game.
“He (Rennie) hasn’t rushed me into it, just chucked me into a couple of drills to get my head around it, sit back and watch a couple of the boys that play (my) position,” Vunivalu said.
“It’s been good. I had a full training session with the boys yesterday and they chucked me in and did a bit of stuff, so hopefully in the next couple of weeks I will get a good understanding of it.”
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