Tuidraki Samusamuvodre was rattled by two things when he arrived on the Gold Coast from Fiji: the cold weather and a last-minute invitation to train with the Wallabies.
The Fiji Drua centre had 12 hours to contain his nerves and excitement before he and several Bull Sharks teammates trained alongside the likes of Marika Koroibete and Samu Kerevi at Royal Pines leading in to the third test against England.
“It was a great experience. I look up to all the Fijian guys who play for the Wallabies because they have set a standard for the boys back home, so I was really looking forward to meeting them,” said Samusamuvodre.
‘Tui’ as he’s known in rugby circles played his first match for the Bull Sharks at the weekend in the tough two-point loss to GPS.
“I just love running around with the boys here and the coaching staff are great,” he said.
“Back at home in Fiji Bond is so big, it’s known as a big uni. Everyone looks forward to joining the club and I think it’s just a great opportunity.”
Head coach Grant Anderson will be relying on his new recruit’s attacking prowess when Bond host ladder leaders’ Wests this Saturday.
“He’s a threat with the ball in the hand. He’s really got some pace and defended quite well. I was really pleased with his first game for us,” said Anderson.
Samusamuvodre started playing rugby in grade nine in Nadi, going on to impress in school carnivals before making the Under 20s national team.
He captained the Fiji Warriors at the World Rugby Pacific Challenge in 2019 and 2020. Last year he travelled to the U.S. to spend a season with the New England Free Jacks in Boston playing eight games.
He was part of the Fiji Drua squad which was based at Lennox Head last November for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season. Flooding saw their training sessions relocated to Somerset College.
He made his debut against the Waratahs at Cbus Super Stadium and now has four international caps to his name.
His Drua teammate Chris Minimbi is due to arrive from Fiji next week to play in the round 14 clash against Norths.
The pair will see out the season with Bond before returning to Fiji.
Samusamuvodre will be wearing the Bull Sharks pink jersey at The Canal this Saturday as part of Ladies’ Day.