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Report: Cross-code star Suliasi Vunivalu linked with NRL return

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

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Cross-code star Suliasi Vunivalu has been linked with a move back to the NRL and is reportedly considering quitting rugby union halfway through his two-year deal with the Reds.

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According to The Daily Telegraph, numerous NRL clubs have shown interest in Vunivalu, the former rugby league wing who won two NRL Premierships with the Melbourne Storm between 2016 and 2020.

During that time, the Fijian-born 26-year-old scored an impressive 86 tries in 111 NRL appearances, but has struggled to make his mark in rugby union since switching codes earlier this year.

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A 1st XV star at Auckland’s St Kentigern College, Vunivalu signed with the Reds for the 2021 and 2022 Super Rugby seasons, and many projected speedster to walk into the Dave Rennie’s Wallabies squad.

That seemed to be the case following the completion of last year’s NRL campaign when Vunivalu joined the Wallabies in a non-playing during their Tri Nations series, but injuries and off-field issues limited his involvement at the Reds earlier this year.

His rugby union got off to a rocky start when he was charged with common assault after allegedly striking a security guard at a Brisbane pub in January.

That charge was eventually dropped in August, but Vunivalu was suspended by the Reds for the side’s Super Rugby AU opener against the Waratahs before picking up a hamstring injury that curtailed any hope of Wallabies selection.

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In between his suspension and injury, Vunivalu impressed in both Super Rugby AU and Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, making a total of seven appearances and scoring five tries.

However, in his absence from the Wallabies, others – such as test rookie Andrew Kellaway – have starred in Rennie’s squad, leading The Daily Telegraph to suggest that NRL clubs may look to circle Vunivalu for his signature after his fall down Australia’s national pecking order.

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