New Leeds recruit King Vuniyayawa sets his sights on Fiji spot for World Cup

Drew Darbyshire

King Vuniyayawa hopes to be make a good impression in Super League with Leeds that will earn him a place in the Fiji squad for this year’s World Cup.

The 25-year-old forward has joined the Rhinos on a one-year deal from NRL side New Zealand Warriors.

Vuniyayawa has won three caps for his native Fiji to date – and he hopes to represent his homeland in the World Cup this autumn.

He said: “It is always big playing for Fiji. We hold that really high and close to our hearts.

“We pride ourselves on playing for Fiji and it is also something I look forward to. Going into camp with the boys is always fun but one of my main goals is to play in the World Cup at the end of the year.

“Hopefully I can play really good footy over here which I trust the club will help me do and then join the World Cup squad with the boys.

“It means a lot to play for Fiji. Once you put on the jersey and you get into the squad it just feels different.

“It is a different vibe when you go into camp. We are all happy when it comes to devotion and we all hold that jersey close to our heart and we are very proud of that. It means a lot to us.”

Vuniyayawa made five NRL appearances for New Zealand Warriors

Vuniyaywa arrived in the UK earlier this week and will spend his isolation period before he completes his Covid-19 testing protocol at the Headingley Lodge, the hotel attached to the stadium.

The Fijian is excited to link up with Rhinos coach Richard Agar and his new team-mates following his quarantine.

He said: “I’m just adjusting to the time difference and stuff like that having come over from the other side of the world.

“What the club has done for me in my isolation has been amazing and I’m very grateful for what they’ve done for me.

“My mates and family back home have been asking if I’m home but no, I’m really looking forward to coming over and getting on the pitch with the boys.”

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