Edinburgh have announced that Fijian Viliame ‘Bill’ Mata has signed an unspecified length contract extension with the Scottish club after he turned down offers from elsewhere. The 29-year-old, who was nominated for EPCR player of the year and named Guinness PRO14 players’ player of the year in 2018/19, joined the club in 2016 after a stellar 7s career culminated in Rio Olympic gold.
Mata, who has made 81 appearances for Edinburgh who lives in the city with his wife, Wati and children Vinny (6) and Bill Junior (2), said: “I feel truly blessed and I thank God for another opportunity to extend our stay here in Edinburgh.
“Edinburgh are heading to a good stage right now and think we’re building together well as a team. Since I started, I have felt my rugby has progressed season after season, so staying with the club means I can hopefully progress even more and aim higher than where I am now.
“All the staff have been really helpful, especially the S&C who have created a personal programme for me to suit my recovery and physical needs. To be honest, in my second season I wasn’t sure I’d last long in Edinburgh, maybe because of the difference in weather and being so far from home, but we feel truly blessed that we are still here and that my family now call Edinburgh ‘home’ as well.
“After the second year, Richard Cockerill came in and the S&C programme started to change. I felt like I had a bit more in me that I could show. Since then I have been grabbing every opportunity. That’s why I’m still here now and staying for more.
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— Edinburgh Rugby (@EdinburghRugby) January 26, 2021
“My daughter knows only two places, Fiji and Edinburgh, and it’s home for our son because he was born here. My wife feels that way too and we are very happy. The fans play a big part in that too. I’m grateful to them for sticking with the team now and, with me extending my contract. Hopefully, I can produce more for the team and make them even happier in the seasons to come.”
Cockerill added: “We’re delighted to be able to extend Bill’s contract. He is a player of undeniable talent and brings a real x-factor to the side. He’s a devastating, powerful runner in broken field and from the back of the scrum and has the passing and offloading skills in and before the tackle to bring players around him into the game from nowhere.
“He has worked exceptionally hard over his career to develop those soft skills which complement a lot of the excellent and more understated work he gets through in a game. The physical side of his game has come on a great deal in his time here thanks to near personal care from our S&C team.
“He has had a huge amount of support in that area and we’ve reaped the benefits of his commitment to new training and nutrition regimes through his performances on the park. We take in pride in our care for players and I think that has played a big part in keeping him here.”
'I’ve spoken to Gregor a couple of times over the past few years. He’s always been pretty good and respectful about my decision to not commit.'@camredpath tells @jimhamilton4 ??? why he chose Scotland over England https://t.co/rEQAoLsRrr
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 24, 2021
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