Mata set to feature for Bristol Bears

January 3, 2024 9:50 am

[Source: Bristol Bears/Twitter]

Flying Fijians back-row Viliame Mata is set to feature for the Bristol Bears in the 2024/25 season.

This has been confirmed by the club.

Mata, fondly known as Big Bill is the first non-Scottish player to have made more than 100 appearances for Edinburgh.

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Director of Rugby Pat Lam says that Mata is one of the most powerful and exciting back-row players in the game and they are so delighted to be bolstering their forward pack with a player of his world-class calibre next season.

Lam adds that while Mata is destructive and brings gain line on both sides of the ball, he also possesses the passing/offloading skills and experience that will add real value to the Bristol Bears.

The director says that ‘Big Bill’s performances as a centurion for Edinburgh and at the recent Rugby World Cup in France for Fiji, showcased his experience and ability at the top level.

The Tailevu man was a standout player at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, scoring against England in the quarter-final.

Mata was nominated for EPCR Player of the Year and named Guinness PRO14 Players’ Player of the Year in 2018/19 and won Olympic Gold with Fiji at Rio 2016.

The 32-year-old in an interview with Bristol says that he is truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Bristol Bears next season.

He says that he is excited for the challenge of playing for a different team, in a different environment and a different league.

Mata will be joining Kalaveti Ravouvou and Virimi Vakatawa.