Suliasi Vunivalu will join the Wallabies at their training camp in the New South Wales Hunter Valley on Wednesday, only weeks after helping the Melbourne Storm win the NRL grand final.
- Vunivalu is unlikely to play in the Wallabies’ remaining two Tri Nations Tests
- His involvement with the Wallabies’ training squad is set to be part of his transition to rugby union
- Vunivalu scored a try for the Storm in their NRL grand final victory just over two weeks ago
Vunivalu, who signed a two-year contract with Rugby Australia and Queensland last December, is not expected to be considered for selection for the Wallabies’ two upcoming Tri Nations Tests against Argentina.
Instead, the 24-year-old has been invited to join Dave Rennie’s extended Wallabies’ training squad as part of his transition from rugby league to the 15-player code.
Vunivalu played a key role in the Storm’s grand final win over Penrith late last month, scoring a runaway try in the 26-20 triumph at the Olympic stadium.
It was Vunivalu’s second premiership with the Storm, as he was also a member of their victorious squad in 2017.
His former Storm teammate Marika Koroibete, who starred for the Wallabies in last Saturday night’s 24-22 win over the All Blacks in Brisbane, trod the same path when he switched codes following the 2016 NRL season.
Koroibete joined the Wallabies in Europe on their spring tour later that year, although he did not make his Test debut until September 2017. He has since established himself as one of the side’s top performers.
He has played 32 Tests for the Wallabies and was awarded the John Eales Medal last year.
Vunivalu, who along with Korobiete was born in Fiji, played rugby union as a teenager and attended Auckland’s Saint Kentigern College, which produced All Blacks Joe Rokocoko and Jerome Kaino.
He was spotted by the Storm and lured to Melbourne as an 18-year-old, and in his debut season in 2016 was the NRL’s top try scorer.
The Wallabies have already blooded two wingers during the recent Bledisloe Cup Tests.
Tom Wright scored with his first touch against the All Blacks last Saturday night, while Vunivalu’s new Reds teammate Filipo Daugunu has also impressed since making his Test debut in Wellington last month.
The Wallabies’ next match is against the Pumas in Newcastle on November 21, before they play each other again at Western Sydney Stadium on December 5 to wrap up the Tri Nations.