Player Focus: Eroni Sau
When a new signing is nicknamed The Sledgehammer due to his ferocious defence and aggressive carrying, fans expect that player to arrive on the scene with a bang, and in some style too.
In Fijian international Eroni Sau’s case, he has certainly lived up to the billing, and while he may not have seen significant playing time, he’s made every minute, tackle and sidestep count en route to grabbing three tries this season.
Sau – who is currently in lockdown in Edinburgh – spoke to edinurghrugby.org prior to the club’s players going on furlough, and he is enjoying having the opportunity to spend some extended time with his family during this period.
“I obviously have my own gym programme that’s keeping me healthy during this period, but a lot of the time I’m just playing around with my family at home,” said Sau.
“We’ve been following some aerobics on YouTube and we just do it all together as a family – it’s awesome to get the kids involved too!
“We’ve been taking the bikes out to get a bit of exercise. We’re lucky that we live right next to Inverleith Park, so we manage to get some fresh air and do so some running too!
“People back in Fiji are always calling to make sure we’re OK. They are definitely thinking of us. I think it’s an OK scenario back in Fiji, there aren’t too many confirmed cases.
“My family back home stay out in the country, away from the city, so they are staying health at the moment which is great.”
With Fijians Viliame Mata and Mesu Kunavula already settled in the city, Sau has taken little time to make his mark in the squad.
The trio – who are often inseparable in training and on away trips – are extremely close off the pitch and have kept in close contact during this period of COVID-19-caused separation.
“Myself, Bill and Mesu met before lockdown and we managed to have some BBQ and kava, so it was nice to see them in person before we had to stay in our homes.
“I chat to them every day though, we’re always texting and just keeping each other right. We always need that extra bit of motivation, especially with Bill, to keep him training!”
Like Fijian international No. 8 Mata, Sau has been kept in excellent shape by the club’s Strength & Conditioning staff, which in turn has resulted in some thrilling displays on the pitch.
And Head of S&C Nick Lumley made sure that the Fijians would be able to keep peddling during lockdown as he personally delivered the dreaded Watt Bikes to their homes – a deed Mata was not best pleased about.
“You could see how sad Bill looked when Lummers dropped off that Watt Bike at his house. Really thought he had escaped it!
“I got one too, so there’s no excuses, we both need to cycle every day!
“I really like it here in Scotland. When I arrived, I was a bit heavy, but with the S&C guys here, they really push you too your limit and that’s helped me massively.
“Then with the international guys, it’s been awesome to see how good they really are and it’s been great fun training with them.”
With three tries in 10 appearances – including a vital go-ahead score in November’s win over Munster at Independent Park – Sau’s ability to get over the whitewash has been crucial during Edinburgh’s march to the summit of Guinness PRO14 Conference B.
And while the season may be on hold for the time being, the Fijian international has loved every bit of settling into a new club, and forging a bond with teammates he now refers to as ‘brothers’.
“Before we went into lockdown, we were top of the table, and there was an awesome feeling around the squad – something I haven’t felt in a long time,” continued Sau.
“The coaches push us to the max in training here, there’s no messing around, and they will get the best out of you.
“It’s obviously been not great leaving the season as we have, but we just want everyone to stay safe.
“I will say that I want to see everyone again soon though. I really miss my brothers on the pitch and the sooner we can play together, the better!”