Sledgehammer Sau feeling right at home
The BT Murrayfield faithful have become accustomed to Eroni Sau’s ferocious style of play in the last year - writes James Parsons.
The Fijian sensation - nicknamed 'The Sledgehammer' - has enjoyed settling into his new home in the capital city with his family, and this month he was delighted to welcome a new baby boy to the world.
“It’s always a blessing, he’s settling well!" said Sau.
“It’s special for me, having grown up in a village in Fiji to see my son born here in Scotland. It’s something I’m really proud of.
“I’d love for both of my sons to play rugby, and I’ll be proud if they choose to play for Fiji or for Scotland.”
Like many parents, Eroni has had to adapt this year to the new normal, with homeschooling and YouTube workouts becoming a big feature in the Sau household.
“It has been ok for us. Most of the time I’m out playing rugby and working, so during lockdown my kids were really happy because I spent a lot of time with them.
“The first two weeks of homeschooling was good, I don’t think the kids were enjoying it as much after two months!
“I also really like doing home workouts with the children on YouTube, I want to keep them active because they love eating!”
During rest and days off, Eroni and his family enjoy trips into the city, and the capital has started to feel more and more like home for the former Fijian Sevens star.
“Everybody is so friendly, and there’s lots of positivity. People always say hi in the shops, it’s the same as at home, everyone seems to care for each other, and will ask you how you’re doing, and how the family is.
“Before COVID, we always went out in the city during my days off. One of our favourite places is Inverleith park. We always go there if the sun is out, and we go to meet the other Fijians there, it feels like a family.
“My kids enjoy living in Scotland, they’ve been making friends. We also like to go to the castle, although my kids think that every building is a castle, they’re always pointing at buildings shouting that there’s another castle!”
The Fijian family at Edinburgh Rugby has been expanding lately. Sau was happy to join Bill Mata at the club, and the recent arrivals of Mesu Kunavula and Lee-Roy Atalifo have added to the Fijian community in Scotland.
“It’s always great to be with other Fijians around the world. I knew Bill was here, and he was really happy that I was coming over to play with him.
“It’s part of our culture to see each other, we always look after each other. I’ve always looked up to Bill, and it’s good to be here with him and his family. “
Eroni’s path to his new home in Edinburgh has seen him play across multiple codes and formats of the game. Sau grew up playing rugby league with local side, Saru Dragons, before the winger was encouraged to play rugby sevens.
Since then he has made 58 apperances for the Fijian sevens side, won a silver medal at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth games, and played in France with USA Perpignan before making his move to Edinburgh.
“I grew up playing rugby league and dreaming of playing in the NRL! I came close to playing for the Fiji Bati at the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.
“After I had my daughter I joined the police so that I could have a job and still play rugby. You can work for them and play rugby at the same time.
“From there I was recruited to play for the Sevens team. I count my blessings, and grab everything that comes. I’ve worked hard to get where I am now.”
Since his arrival in Scotland, Sau has entertained Edinburgh fans with his physical style of play, and has been able to bring a different set of skills that compliments his back-three colleagues.
“It’s good to play with guys like Darcy Graham and Duhan Van Der Merwe, in some ways you see how they are better than you, but there are other things that I do better than them, so it’s good to learn and compete with them.
“My style comes naturally to me, but I work hard to make sure I can maintain my body so that I can be physical in the game.
“It’s a lot of work in the gym to maintain my strength, so that I can play the way I know I can."