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Josh Matavesi, the Cornish Fijian

By Ross Ellis
BBC Cornwall Sport

Josh Matavesi
Matavesi has now been capped four times by Fiji

From the Mennaye Field in Penzance to the Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, the last two years have been a whirlwind tour of world rugby for Cornwall's Josh Matavesi.

Back in 2008, he was playing for the now defunct Mounts Bay in National League Two.

Then last Saturday the 20-year-old full-back came off the bench for Fiji as they went down to a 34-12 defeat against France in Nantes.

"It was a good experience to come on," he told BBC Cornwall.

"It was a really noisy crowd and playing against the likes of Sebastien Chabal was amazing."

The intensity of international rugby in the heart of France is a far cry from where Matavesi learnt his trade.

As a youngster, he played for Camborne Rugby Club, following in the footsteps of his father, Sereli, who emigrated from Fiji to Cornwall in the 1980s.

Then, while at school in Truro, he was playing for Mounts Bay, which was swiftly followed by a move into Devon to play for the Exeter Chiefs.

In December 2008, he was called up to the England Under-20 squad, but soon switched to his father's home country.

"I got a call from one of the Fijian coaches and I had to make a decision," said Matavesi. "I am really enjoying it and it's good to get a different insight into the game."

The full-back made his debut for Fiji in November 2009, playing against Scotland, Ireland and Romania.

And he is loving every minute of his time with his international team-mates.

"There are a lot of jokes, but it's a good atmosphere," says the man who indentifies himself as a Cornish Fijian.

"The team has bonded very well, but I don't think it's sunk in that I am playing international rugby."

Having won his fourth cap last weekend, Matavesi is now hoping for the chance to impress when his country take on Wales at the Millennium Stadium this Friday.



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