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Waratahs sign Fijian Commonwealth Games medallist before 2024 season

By Finn Morton
Mesulame Kunavula of Fiji is tackled by Beka Saghinadze of Georgia as he heads for the try line during the Autumn Nations Cup match between Georgia and Fiji at Murrayfield on December 05, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Sporting Stadiums around The UK remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The NSW Waratahs have signed Fijian international and Commonwealth Games medallist Mesu Kunavula to a one-year deal ahead of the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.

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Kunavula, who is primarily a backrower but can also play lock, started his professional rugby journey on the Sevens World Series on debut for Fiji in Dubai seven years ago.

The 28-year-old went on to claim a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, with Fiji losing to sevens rivals New Zealand 14-nil at Cbus Super Stadium.

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Kunavula penned a deal with Edinburgh the following year which led to a Test rugby debut for Fiji against Georgia in 2020 at Murrayfield Stadium.

Following an impressive 23-game stint with the Scottish club, Kunavula made the move to French side Brive in the Top 14.

With experience around the world, as well as “an imposing physical presence,” Kunavula will look to make his mark next season after moving down south to Super Rugby Pacific.

“We are excited about the prospect of what Mesu can bring to our team,” coach Darren Coleman said in a statement. “He’s a player with a hugely exciting skillset that we feel will complement our other backrowers.

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“While he has an imposing physical presence, he has a keen sense of his surroundings, an ability to offload the ball. The back 5 of our scrum, depth-wise, will be a strong point and Mesu will have to train hard and play well to get his share of playing time.”

Standing at 195cm tall and weighing 125kg, Kunavula could prove to be a superb signing for the Waratahs as they begin their new era with former skipper Michael Hooper.

Kunavula joins the Tahs along with formerly French-based lock Miles Amatosero and former Fijian rugby league international Vuate Karawalevu.

“I want to thank Darren and the coaching staff for giving me a chance and a new opportunity to play for the famous Waratahs,” Kunavula said.

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“Being in Sydney also takes me closer to my family in Fiji and I’m excited to have landed in Sydney, ready to train hard and hopefully get the opportunity to play for the Waratahs in Super Rugby.”

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