In a surprising move, recently departed NRL star Suliasi Vunivalu is set to join the Wallabies squad when they reconvene in Hunter Valley, New South Wales today.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Vunivalu – who is leaving his post at the Melbourne Storm to join the Queensland Reds in 2021 – will join Dave Rennie's squad and begin training, pending the results of his Covid-19 test.
Vunivalu's entry into international rugby was set to be next year instead at the completion of his first season with the Reds, should his performances be up to standard. That would follow a similar trajectory to former teammate and compatriot Marika Koroibete, who switched rugby codes after the 2016 NRL season and was also brought into the Wallabies squad a matter of months after.
However Koroibete did not make his international debut until September 2017.
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While it brings encouraging news to Wallabies fans with the immediate injection of a talented winger, it is unlikely Vunivalu will play in either of their two remaining tests for 2020.
Rennie's stocks out wide appear in good nick with Koroibete, Tom Wright and Filipo Daugunu all showing promising glimpses in the Wallabies' four tests so far under the New Zealand coach.
Vunivalu also has not played the 15-man game for six years, supporting the thesis he will not lineup for Australia so soon.
The 24-year-old played high school rugby for Saint Kentigern College in Auckland and featured in the Blues' academy side, before being scouted by the Storm and joining their youth team.
In five seasons in the NRL, the Fijian played in 111 games and scored 86 tries, and helped hoist two Premierships.