Suliasi Vunivalu (born 27 November 1995) is a professional rugby player who has excelled in both rugby league and rugby union. He is originally from Suva, Fiji, and moved to Auckland, New Zealand at the age of 16. Vunivalu's primary position is wing.
Vunivalu grew up in the province of Bua in Fiji and attended Lelean Memorial School. He showcased his rugby talents early on and played rugby league for the Concord-Burwood Wolves and Leichhardt Wanderers in his youth.
However, at the age of 14, Vunivalu made the switch to rugby union, which would eventually pave the way for his successful career.
In his late teens, Vunivalu moved to Auckland and played rugby union for Saint Kentigern College. His impressive performances on the field caught the attention of talent scouts, and he was selected for the Blues development team, a significant achievement for a young player.
In 2016, at the age of 20, Vunivalu was signed by the Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League (NRL). He made an immediate impact, scoring two tries on his NRL debut against the Wests Tigers.
Vunivalu continued his try-scoring prowess throughout his debut season, setting a record for the most tries in a debut season with 23. He finished the season as the club's top try-scorer and helped the Storm reach the NRL Grand Final, although they were ultimately defeated.
Vunivalu's success continued in subsequent seasons, with him becoming a key player for the Storm. He was part of the team that won the NRL premiership in 2017 and the World Club Challenge in 2018. Known for his speed, agility, and try-scoring ability, Vunivalu established himself as one of the league's most exciting wingers.
In December 2019, it was confirmed that Vunivalu would make the switch to rugby union, signing with the Queensland Reds for the 2021 and 2022 Super Rugby seasons. Despite being away from the sport for several years, Vunivalu seamlessly transitioned back into rugby union.
He made his Super Rugby debut for the Reds in 2021 and immediately made an impact, scoring two tries in his first match. Throughout his Super Rugby career, Vunivalu has showcased his try-scoring ability and versatility as a backline player. He has been a key contributor to the Reds' success and has become a fan favorite.
Vunivalu has represented both Fiji and Australia at the international level. In rugby league, he made his debut for Fiji in 2017 and went on to score numerous tries in international matches. He was part of the Fiji Bati team that reached the semi-finals of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
In rugby union, Vunivalu was invited to train with the Australian national team, the Wallabies, in 2020. He made his debut for Australia in 2022 during the England rugby union tour. Vunivalu has also represented Australia A, scoring a try in a victory over Japan.
Throughout his career, Vunivalu has received several individual and team honors. In the NRL, he holds records for most tries in a debut season and most tries in the first two seasons. He has also been named the Dally M Top Try Scorer. Vunivalu has been a part of the Melbourne Storm's premiership-winning teams and the Queensland Reds' successful campaigns in Super Rugby.
With his explosive speed, powerful running, and try-scoring prowess, Suliasi Vunivalu continues to be a highly regarded and influential player in both rugby league and rugby union.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2023, Vunivalu has been named in the training squad for Australia.
|2021 - present|
|2022 - present|