It doesn’t seem a likely transition to go from the second row in rugby union to the wing in Rugby League but Kaiviti Silktails player Viliame Tutuvili has done it with ease.
He was a striking feature in the Silktails 30-16 win over the Ryde-Eastwood Hawks in Round Seven in the Ron Massey Cup last weekend, making three line-breaks and setting up a try for his centre Sunia Naruma.
Remember this is only Tutuvili’s fifth competition match in the 13-a-side game.
“I played flanker in the forwards in rugby,” Tutuvili said.
“Maybe my speed from chasing my brothers at home has got me onto the wing.
“I also used to run the 400-metre races a lot at school athletics.”
Silktails pastor Akei (Junior) Nainoca is largely responsible for bringing Tutuvili to Rugby League; he was his coach when the pair were with the famous Fijian provisional team, Nadroga Rugby Club.
“He’s got that speed and he showed that in rugby too,” Nainoca said.
“But I’m grateful he made a quick transition into league and into the backline.
“He’s well-known in rugby union for setting up tries. He learned in Rugby Sevens how to get his offload going – that is something he’s always been good at.”’
Tutuvili’s obvious skills with ball in hand, alongside his acceleration through the smallest of gaps, has caught the eye of the Sydney Roosters – the partnership NRL club of the Fiji Kava Kaiviti Silktails.
The 21-year-old has been asked to train with the Roosters Jersey Flegg squad, but the Nadi native is not looking too far ahead yet in his Rugby League career.
“I just enjoyed the game today – I felt like there was a lot of improvement from our last game,” Tutuvili said.
“We worked hard for that win and it means a lot to us.
“I play for my family back home. My mother and father are always telling to work hard and play hard. I’m trying to do that.”
Nainoca sees some bright lights ahead if Tutuvili keeps applying himself.
“He’s got the talent and personality to want to keep learning and keep improving,” Naincoa said.
“He wants to build on what he’s started here with Rugby League.
“He’s testament to what you can do in Rugby League even with a rugby background. Some of his friends are texting and chatting with him – they want to come over to Australia and try Rugby League.
“What Viliame has been achieving here will also be good for young players back home. Rugby League is becoming much bigger in Fiji.”
The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.
The NSWRL receives funding from the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports to support the Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup.