Fiji's Aussie connection ready for Wallabies

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies have plenty of Fijian links but the visitors have their own Aussie link on Saturday in flyhalf Ben Volavola.

Rebels playmaker Volavola, born in Sydney, has played almost all of his professional rugby in Australia and went to school with Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa, before starting his Super Rugby career with the Waratahs.

While he played down any insider information he might be able to share, Fiji coach John McKee said Volavola had given the side some extra insight into the Wallabies.

Volavola has spent a season with the Rebels and built a good on-field combination with Reece Hodge, someone he's looking forward to facing off against on Saturday.

“Probably the closest guy that I know personally is probably Reece Hodge,” he said.

“I’ve worked really closely with him during the season this year and improved my game because of guys like him this season.”

‘If I do get him to ground (in a tackle), a bit of love on the ground as well will be pretty funny.”

Volavola was at the Waratahs under Michael Cheika and knows all too well the influence he will have on a new-look Wallabies team.

“He's a very passionate guy and the great thing about Cheik is if he does choose you to play, he totally believes in your ability and collectively as a team,” he said.

“Our group we're ready to face fiery Wallabies squad and a squad that is very good fundamentally as well.”

Volavola knows the liberation that a Test camp can give amid the Super Rugby turmoil, with his own involvement with Fiji a release from the uncertainty in Melbourne.

“I think particularly for the guys at the Force and the Rebels, who are playing for the Wallabies it's probably a fresh new start to get away from their provincial sides and really enjoy themselves in a different environment,” he said.

“I think mentally, actually it'll be refreshing being in a different environment, surroundings, different teammates, so i don't think it'll hinder them.

“It's been refreshing mentally especially (for me), being around a different group, enjoying myself with different coaches with different voices.”

The Wallabies take on Fiji on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RADIO. Buy tickets here.