Tuidraki Samusamuvodre was shocked 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 center had 12 hours to curb his nerves and excitement before he and several Bull Sharks teammates trained alongside Marika Koroibete and Samu Kerevi at Royal Pines, leading to the third Test against England.
“It was a great experience. I look up to all the Fiji guys who play for the Wallabies because they set a standard for the guys at home, so I was really looking forward to meeting them,” said Samusamuvodre.
‘Tui’ as he is known in rugby circles played his first game for the Bull Sharks this weekend in the heavy loss of two points to GPS.
“I just love running around with the guys here and the coaching staff is great,” he said.
“Back home in Fiji, Bond is so big, it’s known as a big uni. Everyone is looking forward to joining the club and I think it’s just a great opportunity.”
Head coach Grant Anderson will rely on the attacking prowess of his new recruit when Bond hosts the Wests of ladder leaders this Saturday.
“He is a threat with the ball in hand. He really has some speed and defends very well. I was very happy with his first game for us,” said Anderson.
Samusamuvodre started playing rugby in grade nine in Nadi, then impressed at school carnivals before making the national under-20 team.
He captained the Fiji Warriors during the World Rugby Pacific Challenge in 2019 and 2020. Last year, he traveled to the US to spend a season with the New England Free Jacks in Boston, where he played eight games.
He was part of the Fiji Drua squad stationed in Lennox Head last November for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season. Flooding saw their training shifts to Somerset College.
He made his debut against the Waratahs at the Cbus Super Stadium and now has four caps to his name.
His Drua teammate Chris Minimbi will be coming from Fiji next week to play against Norths in Round 14.
The pair will see the season with Bond before returning to Fiji.
Samusamuvodre will wear the Bull Sharks pink jersey at The Canal this Saturday as part of Ladies’ Day.