International call up for Matavesi
The Royal Navy Rugby Union is delighted to report that Sam Matavesi, one of the Senior XV team players, has been selected to represent Fiji in the Autumn 2018 Internationals against Scotland, Uruguay and France this November. Sam first came to the attention of the RNRU while he was under training at HMS Raleigh and since then he has been a regular feature on the team sheet.
Sam won his first cap for the Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV when he came on as a replacement in the 2017 Inter Service match against the Royal Air Force at RAF Halton. A capable back row player he instantly made a positive impression and a strong run down the wing was followed by a last minute offload to team mate David Fairbrother who went on to score the Navy's first try of the match. His performance was so impressive that he made the starting line-up for the fixture against the Army at No 7, and was able to represent the Royal Navy in the 100th anniversary match since the formation of both Royal Navy and Army Rugby Unions.
Since then Sam has been a regular fixture in the RNRU Senior XV, winning three more caps in the 2018 fixtures against the Marine Nationale (French Navy), RAF and Army. Such is Sam's contribution to the Royal Navy Rugby Union that his fellow players voted him the winner of the 'Cossack Sword' trophy at the end of the season. The trophy represents 'Ground gained and held' and is an acknowledgement of his outstanding performance throughout the season.
In his day job Sam is a Supply Chain Logistician responsible for ensuring that the right stores are in the right place at the right time, keeping our ships and aircraft operational. He is based at the Royal Naval Air Station in Culdrose, Cornwall where he lives with his wife and two young children. He manages to combine his naval professional and sporting responsibilities with his own civilian rugby commitments; he is a regular player for the Cornish Pirates.
No stranger to Cornwall, Sam was borne in Camborne and attended Truro College and Camborne Science and Community College. Between leaving college and joining the Royal Navy Sam has also played professionally for Plymouth Albion RFC and Racing Metro in France.
Sam has already represented Fiji 3 times on the international rugby stage. When asked about his latest call up for Fiji he said “Playing for your country is the biggest honour in our sport, and it is something I didn’t think would happen again. The chance to represent my family, friends, club, RNAS Culdrose and the Royal Navy is something I’m extremely excited about. The chance to test myself at the highest level, on the biggest stage is something everyone wants, but is something only a privileged few have the opportunity to do. I want to thank the Royal Navy and Cornish Pirates for making this dream a reality.”
Fiji will face Scotland at Murrayfield on 10 November, then play Uruguay at Hartpury on 17 November before their final match at the Stade de France in Paris on 24 November. Everyone in the Royal Navy Rugby Union wishes Sam the best of luck and will be avidly watching to see how he gets on. Well done Sam!
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton and Keith Woodland