Rugby Union


Jerry props for fresh start with Fiji

ACT BRUMBIES prop Jerry Yanuyanutawa will put his Super Rugby ambitions on hold to begin a stint with the Fiji national team next week to help relaunch his career.

However, making his Test debut for the Flying Fiji will end his hopes of winning a new contract in Canberra with the Brumbies' two foreign player spots already filled by Ruaidhri Murphy and Henry Speight.

Yanuyanutawa has been granted a six-week international release by the Brumbies and the ARU to play Tests against Japan, Samoa, Tonga and Scotland.

If the Brumbies suffer injuries in the front row while Yanuyanutawa is away, he will immediately return to bolster the ranks. But he is expected to remain with Fiji until late June when he will be allowed to return to the Brumbies and finish the Super Rugby campaign.

As of next year, Yanuyanutawa will be classified as a foreign player in the Australian player market and the Brumbies will not be able to re-sign him because they have Murphy and Speight.

The 27-year-old hasn't been able to force his way into the Brumbies' game-day squad and hopes playing for Fiji will help him attract offers for next year.


Yanuyanutawa has played for Fiji Schoolboys and under-21s before Australia A in 2008.

Since then injuries have crippled his hopes of having an impact in professional rugby, limiting him to just nine Super Rugby caps.

''I've always wanted to play international rugby so it's a great opportunity and the Brumbies have been supportive of that,'' Yanuyanutawa said. ''It was a tough choice but I've had my opportunities with the Brumbies.

''It has been frustrating with injuries and this does rule me out with the Brumbies for next year.''

Yanuyanutawa played for Easts in their 29-10 loss to the Gungahlin Eagles at Nicholls yesterday and he will leave Canberra on Wednesday to join the Fiji squad.

He was joined by fellow Brumby Ben Hand in the Easts side while Leon Power and Tevita Kuridrani tried to keep up their match fitness playing for the Queanbeyan Whites against the Uni-Norths Owls.

Meanwhile, Wests coach Craig Robberds was left disappointed with his team's performance despite the side cruising to a 40-17 win over Royals at Jamison Oval.

After trailing early, Wests piled on six tries for a 23-point victory and second place on the ladder.

But a far from satisfied Robberds blasted his forward pack and said they need to improve if they want to challenge the ladder-leading Tuggeranong next weekend.

''A few tries went missing because we didn't hold on to the ball,'' Robberds said. ''To be honest I'm not really happy, I'm disappointed. It's about where we want to be, we have to be more ruthless at the breakdown … next week is going to be the big test and our forwards have to be a lot better than what they were [yesterday].''