NRL star to get Wallabies chance

Reports from Australia suggest that Melbourne Storm star Suliasi Vunivalu has been called up to the Wallabies squad for their remaining Tri-Nations fixtures.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Vunivalu will join the Wallabies squad on Wednesday, pending the results of a Covid-19 test.

The 24-year-old Fijian made his debut for Melbourne Storm in 2016 and has since developed into one of the NRL’s premier wings, scoring 86 tries in 111 appearances, playing in four grand finals and winning two premierships.

Vunivalu will follow a similar path to fellow Fijian and former Storm player Marika Koroibete, who was first included in a Wallabies squad in 2016 before making his Test debut a year later against Argentina.

However, the report adds that it is unlikely that Vanivalu will be involved in either of the Wallabies’ remaining Tri-Nations matches against Argentina as coach Dave Rennie has Koroibete, Tom Wright and Filipo Daugunu ahead in the pecking order.

Vanivalu, who will be joining the Reds in 2021, has not played rugby union in six years, having last been involved in the fifteen-man game with the Blues academy.

After growing up in the Fijian province of Bua, Vanivalu moved to Auckland when he was 16 years old and quickly became a schoolboy rugby star at Saint Kentigern College. He was called up to the Blues academy at 17, but decided to pursue a career in rugby league, signing for Melbourne Storm when he turned 18.

He currently holds the NRL records for most tries in a debut season (23) and most tries in the first two seasons (46).

Vunivalu was reported to be having second thoughts over his move to rugby union after the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying in June that he was open to staying in Melbourne if the Reds and Rugby Australia could not honour his contract.

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