Atalifo pens capital extension

Atalifo pens capital extension

Fijian international prop Lee-Roy Atalifo has today put pen-to-paper on a new deal with Edinburgh Rugby.

Atalifo, 34 – capped 16-times by the Flying Fijians – has made 20 appearances for the capital club since joining from Jersey Reds in March 2020, and has featured in 10 matches this season.

Atalifo joins Scottish qualified props Angus Williams and Harrison Courtney – who both came through FOSROC Super6 club Watsonians – in extending terms with the capital side as Head Coach Mike Blair continues to shape his squad for the 2022/23 season.

On penning a new deal, Atalifo said: “I’m very happy here and I’m really excited to be staying. We have a good team culture, a good brotherhood, and great coaches that bring a positive vibe to the team that pushes you to be better every single day.

“I’ve really enjoyed this season because we’ve been doing well. We have our tough days but I think we are in a better position. The great support from our Edinburgh fans in our new stadium makes it even better."

Hailing from Rotuma, Fiji, Atalifo graduated with an Engineering Degree before working as a firefighter with Fiji’s National Fire Authority.

Following a short spell with Italian club Rugby Roviga Delta – where he won the Eccellenza title – the Fijian returned East to New Zealand where he penned a deal with Canterbury ahead of the 2016/17 Mitre 10 Cup. Atalifo made four appearances at AMI Stadium before joining Jersey Reds ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

The tighthead made his international debut against the Cook Islands in June 2014 and has since featured at both Rugby World Cup 2015 in England and Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.

Making the move to the capital ahead of the 2021/21 campaign, Atalifo enjoyed a try-scoring debut against Cardiff in November 2020, with further game time in 2021/22 under Head Coach Mike Blair.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Mike [Blair]. He brings a lot of energy in terms of his coaching style. He helps identify your weaknesses and strengths individually and as a team and he pushes you to get better,” continued Ataifo.

“I think that reflects a lot when the boys get out on the field. It builds trust and confidence as a team, and I believe there’s a lot of good things yet to come from this Edinburgh side.”

Head Coach Blair, added: “I’ve been really impressed with Lee-Roy’s diligence and detail in improving the finer parts of his game, while his attitude in training and preparing for a match is equally consistent. He works hard every day and brings a great energy to our forward pack.

“We’re really happy Lee-Roy is settled and enjoying his rugby in Edinburgh and it’s great that we’ve secured his re-signing for next season.”

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