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Home > News > A word from the Wise - Waisea Luveniyali
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Your News A word from the Wise - Waisea Luveniyali

At first glance a warm summers evening in Canberra and a bitterly afternoon at Old Deer Park may not appear to have too much in common, but for London Welsh fly half Waisea Luveniyali they will be forever linked.

Little did the Fiji international, nicknamed Wise, know when he lined up against Australia in Canbarra in June last year that his next game of rugby would come nearly seven months later and 10,000 miles away against Esher at Old Deer Park, Richmond.

A broken arm suffered in trying to smash Aussie pin up boy Matt Giteau left the former Quin kicking his heels and carrying the tackle bags before he stepped off the bench for new club London Welsh and in to a derby clash with Esher.

Just to come back and play rugby again was awesome, said 25-year-old Luveniyali, who has been capped nine times by Fiji. I was really excited and happy, but also relieved because Id been waiting six months.

I was planning for a big smash at Matt Giteau, because everyone wants a piece of him!

I dropped my shoulder swung my arm just to give him a hit, but my arm hit his hip and then I landed on it again and felt a snap.

The physio told me it was just muscle but Australia scored a try after that and I had to take the kick off but I couldnt even hold the ball.

But that physio was just a trainee and when the main physio came over he took my arm and with one touch said its broken.

That would spell a long period on the sidelines for Luveniyali - not a welcome scenario for any player but especially for one keen to make an impact at a new club.

I thought it would heal quicker. After five months I thought it was ok, but I had a review and it revealed it hadnt healed, said Luveniyali.

I was felt a bit down; I was excited at the start, but as time went on I was feeling a bit bored. But its ok now, Im really happy to be back in rugby.

Luveniyali may have been left frustrated by his prolonged absence, but his return to action mid-way through the season could be a timely boost for Welsh with the play-offs looming on the horizon.

If Id been playing from the start Id be feeling a little bit tired right now, but I feel fresh so things should be really good, especially as we come towards the end of the season, he said.

Luveniyali joined Welsh in the summer from near neighbours Harlequins after two seasons at the Twickenham Stoop where he made 39 appearances.

His highlight, though, came on debut at Twickenham when his late penalty gave Quins a 24-21 victory over Saracens. It was Dean Richards that brought Luveniyali to Quins but his departure due to Bloodgate would cue a change in his fortunes at the club.

My first season was really good but the second season I didnt play much. I was getting frustrated not playing rugby, said Luveniyali.

I was playing really well at the end of last season and they were able to see the best of me, especially the new director of rugby [Conor OShea]. But they just didnt want me.

Luveniyali, though, could have a big year ahead of him as the Dragons strive for promotion and with the World Cup in September. Not that the World Cup will be anything new to Luveniyali, who was something of a surprise selection for Fijis squad in 2007.

The second youngest member of the squad, his second international cap would come against Australia in Montpellier after Nicky Little was injured in Fijis fantastic win over Wales.

Luveniyali, who marked his debut just three months earlier against Tonga by scoring a try, a conversion and a penalty, would end up on the losing side against Australia, 55-12, but it was an experience which has only inspired him further to make it into Fijis squad for September.

I would love to be at the World Cup. Since Ive started playing rugby again my goal is to just keep on playing rugby the World Cup will come, all I have to do it keep playing and getting better, he said.

I wasnt aiming for 2007, I was aiming for 2011, but when opportunities come you just have to grab them. I was really lucky in 2007 - it was an awesome experience.

For now, though, Luveniyali is fully focused on getting London Welsh to the Premiership.

Im really happy. The playing environment at London Welsh is really good, the coaches are good and weve got a good bunch of players - I really like the open rugby, he said.

For London Welsh head coach Phil Greening, Luveniyalis availability at this stage of the season is like a new signing, and hes full of praise for the way the Fijian has conducted himself over the past seven months.

Hes a great professional; hes done all the jobs that no one else wants to do and extra training sessions. Hes done everything thats been asked of him and more, he said.

Hes been fantastic to have around and I think thats why everyone has embraced him at the club. Hes a real talent and I hope we can start seeing the fruits of his hard work.

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