Mata commits future to Edinburgh
Edinburgh Rugby is delighted to announce Fijian sensation Viliame 'Bill' Mata today extended his commitment to the capital club with a new contract.
Mata, 29, cemented himself as one of World Rugby's most exciting superstars in a stellar 2018/19 campaign that saw him nominated for EPCR Player of the Year and named Guinness PRO14 Players' Player of the Year.
The Olympic Gold winning Fiji 7s player joined the club in 2016 following an impressive Sevens career that included Olympic Gold at the Rio Games that summer.
By his second season the skilful number eight had established himself as a regular in the Edinburgh back-row, in which he was so often a stand-out performer in landmark moments for the club.
He hit new heights when his spectacular over-the-shoulder offload found centre James Johnstone to score in the club’s historic Heineken Champions Cup away victory over RC Toulon in January 2019, cementing his reputation as one of European rugby's most exciting talents.
Since arriving in Edinburgh he has made 81 appearances for the club, earned 17 caps for his country and become one of the most sought-after signatures in the game.
Mata – who lives in the city with his wife, Wati, and two children, Vinny (6) and Bill Junior (2) – said: “I feel truly blessed and I thank God for another opportunity to extend our stay here in Edinburgh.
“Edinburgh Rugby is heading to a good stage right now and think we’re building together well as a team.
“Since I started with Edinburgh Rugby, I’ve felt my rugby has progressed season after season, so staying with the club means I can hopefully progress even more and aim higher than where I am now.
“All the staff have been really helpful, especially the S&C who have created a personal programme for me to suit my recovery and physical needs.
“To be honest, in my second season, I wasn’t sure I’d last long in Edinburgh, maybe because of the difference in weather and being so far from home, but we feel truly blessed that we are still here and that my family now call Edinburgh ‘home’ as well.
“After the second year, Cockers [Head Coach Richard Cockerill] came in and the S&C programme started to change. I felt like I had a bit more in me that I could show. Since then, I’ve been grabbing every opportunity. That’s why I’m still here now and staying for more.
“My daughter knows only two places, Fiji and Edinburgh, and it’s home for our son because he was born here. My wife feels that way too and we are very happy.
“The fans play a big part in that too. I’m grateful to them for sticking with the team now and, with me extending my contract, hopefully I can produce more for the team and make them even happier in the seasons to come.”
Edinburgh Rugby Head Coach, Richard Cockerill, added: “We’re delighted to be able to extend Bill’s contract. He’s a player of undeniable talent and brings a real x-factor to the side.
“He’s a devastating, powerful runner in broken field and from the back of the scrum and has the passing and offloading skills in and before the tackle to bring players around him into the game from nowhere.
“He has worked exceptionally hard over his career to develop those soft skills which complement a lot of the excellent and more understated work he gets through in a game.
“The physical side of his game has come on a great deal in his time here thanks to near personal care from our S&C team. He’s had a huge amount of support in that area and we’ve reaped the benefits of his commitment to new training and nutrition regimes through his performances on the park.
“We take in pride in our care for players and I think that has played a big part in keeping him here.”