Tongan Chief relishes new challenge

Tue, 06 Aug 2013 19:05
Large fetuuvainikoloexeter Large fetu uvainikolojapantry2 Large fetu uvainikolotonga

Tongan wing Fetu’u Vainikolo has spoken of his excitement after he completed his move to Exeter Chiefs on a two-year deal.

New Exeter Chiefs wing Fetu’u Vainikolo has spoken of his excitement after he completed his move to the Premiership club on a two-year deal.

The Tongan international, who moves to Sandy Park from Irish club Connacht, has said that Exeter Chiefs’ style of play was a main factor for him joining and that he cannot wait to get started.

“I’m really excited and looking forward to it,” said the 28-year-old. “It’s always good to get a new experience and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

“Exeter’s type of game play really suits me as a rugby player, it’s the type of rugby I want to play because they like to throw the ball around here, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Vainikolo has already experience tackling the Chiefs, having faced them at the start of last season in a pre-season fixture at Sandy Park.

“I have come across the Chiefs before, so I know they play a very fast game,” he added. “As I said, I can’t wait to get used to it and get involved.”

Vainikolo, who started every European Cup game for Connacht last season and scored a try against Biarritz, said that his new teammates have already helped him settle in to life in the Westcountry.

“It helps big time,” he explained. “I already know the old man ‘Shoey’ [Jason Shoemark] and the ‘Fijian flyer’ Sireli [Naqelevuki], so it’s made it a lot easier for me. Yes I was a bit nervous coming into a new team, but they are good lads here so that has helped a lot.”

Exeter’s latest newcomer jetted into Devon over the weekend and has wasted little time in looking around his new surroundings.

“I’ve had a day or so here now, yesterday I had a look around and I like it a lot,” he said.

“Exeter is not too small and it’s not too big, so it’s perfect to be honest.”

The former Highlanders player was a part of the Tongan squad at the Pacific Nations Cup and described representing his country at the tournament as “a great experience”.

With the pre-season games starting in less than two weeks, Vainikolo is already looking forward to the challenge at the Chiefs and is relishing the start of the new season.

Discussing his move to English rugby’s top flight, Vainikolo added: “I just wanted to try new things and play here in England and Exeter was one of the best attractions to me.

“I don’t really know what the Premiership will be like, but I’m sure I’m going to find out pretty soon! I can’t really say much about it because I haven’t played a game yet, but it should be quite similar to any other team and competition.

“As for what we do as a team, I’m just hoping we can better last year and that the club can go further than ever before. For myself, I just want to go out there and play and score some tries.”

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