​Fijian star Kunavula pens capital extension

​Fijian star Kunavula pens capital extension

Fijian international back-row Mesu Kunavula has become the latest player to commit his future to Edinburgh Rugby after today putting pen-to-paper on a new deal.

The 26-year-old joined Edinburgh from Fiji Sevens in 2019 and has since made 16 appearances for the capital club, the most recent of which saw the back-row grab two try assists in Friday night’s 66-3 European win against Brive.

Kunavula – who was part of a Fiji Sevens side that claimed Silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games – made his Fijian Test debut against Georgia at BT Murrayfield in 2020, crossing the whitewash on his first-ever appearance for the Flying Fijians.

The back-row recently returned from a knee injury sustained during last November’s Autumn International against Spain and joins fellow Fijian star Viliame Mata in committing his long-term future to the club.

Kunavula said: “Firstly, I want to thank the Lord God for giving me strength and power and I want to thank all of the staff and coaches for giving me a chance and a new opportunity with a new deal. I really appreciate it and I’m really happy.

“Edinburgh feels like home, it means a lot to me. I’ve never signed for another club, so I appreciate it here. I enjoyed being back on the field after being away injured, which was tough for me, but I was really happy to be given another chance against Brive.

“I’m looking forward now. I’m happy because I’m getting a lot of opportunities to play. Next year is a World Cup year, so I’m going to work hard to improve myself and I want to try hard to play as much as I can.”

Following an exceptional career on the World Rugby Sevens Series circuit, Kunavula made his Edinburgh Rugby debut in the 2019/20 season opener against Zebre, which saw the back-row feature from the bench in the 50-15 victory at BT Murrayfield.

Kunavula made his first start against Leinster at the RDS Arena in October 2019 before stepping up a gear in his second year in the Scottish capital.

After an impressive run of form in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup – which saw him grab his first try for the club against Dragons at the Principality Stadium in March 2021 – Kunavula was voted Most Improved Player at the end of last season.

He has maintained a strong scoring record for his country – crossing the paint three times in four appearances – including a well-taken score against the All Blacks in Dunedin in July 2021.

Head Coach Mike Blair added: “It’s brilliant that we’re able to re-sign Mesu. He’s a player with a hugely exciting skillset and a guy that is really popular at the club.

“His physical threat is obvious but he also has great awareness of the space around him. He uses his offloading game to exploit that space, which was evident in Friday night’s win over Brive. I thought he had an exceptional game.

“It’s great that Mesu feels like Edinburgh is home and we’re really excited to see him continue to develop among a talented back-row group.”

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