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Official news from the Cornish Pirates confirms that Sam Matavesi has joined Premiership side Northampton Saints.
Now aged 27, Sam first signed for the Cornish Pirates from Redruth early in December 2017, having previously played for his hometown club Camborne, Plymouth Albion and Racing Metro (Paris).
Educated at the Camborne Science & International Academy, Sam then attended Truro College and was a member of the team that in 2009 won the Daily Mail RBS U18 Cup at Twickenham. He won his first cap for Fiji in 2013, was a County Championship winner with Cornwall in 2016 and has also played for the Royal Navy, having worked as a Supply Chain Logistician based at RNAS Culdrose.
A hooker, who has also played in the back row, the last year has been especially memorable for Sam. In November 2018 he was a member of the Fiji team that recorded their first ever win against France, whilst later in the season a spell at Stade Toulousain provided another wonderful experience before representing Fiji again at the recent Rugby World Cup played in Japan.
The Matavesi family is well-known in Cornwall. Sam’s dad Sereli Matavesi was the first Fijian to play for Camborne and Cornwall after his arrival in the 1980s, and his brothers Josh and Joel have also made their mark in the game.
During his time with the Cornish Pirates, Sam has made 40 appearances for the club and scored an impressive total of 14 tries.
Commenting reference Sam’s opportunity to join Northampton Saints, Cornish Pirates’ Director of Rugby, Chris Stirling, said:
We are naturally disappointed to lose a player of Sam’s ability. He has played some fantastic rugby for us this past couple of years and has also had wonderful experiences playing a spell at Stade Toulousain and for Fiji, more recently at the Rugby World Cup.
At this stage of Sam’s career, it is fully understood why he has accepted the opportunity presented him, however as we grow ever closer to realising our ambitions such occurrences will be far less likely to happen in the future.
Before his departure, Sam himself has commented:
Firstly, I’d like to thank Paves, Gav and Morgs for giving me the opportunity a few years back and actually believing in me.
I was playing back row and only ever dabbled at hooker but their hard work and understanding not to mention unbelievable guidance and coaching has led me to a World Cup.
I personally feel the time is right for me to chase my dream of playing at the top, the Pirates have four awesome hookers and the club is in a great place for this season and the future.
As for the great Cornish Pirates supporters, they are unbelievable and have taken to me from the first game until the end. I just hope that in some way I’ve done you proud because I’ve taken great pleasure in running out at the Mennaye on a match day.
Sam also added:
Most recent, I must also express a massive thanks to Dicky and Chris for their professional manner and allowing me to chase my dream – not forgetting Once a Pirate, always a Pirate!
Confirming the names of eight players who will not be with the Cornish Pirates next season
The Cornish Pirates can confirm that wing Alex O’Meara has again put pen to paper
Maliq Holden has signed a further one-year contract at the club.