FORMER fans favourite Niko Matawalu has returned to Glasgow Warriors on a one-year contract, with the option of a second year, subject to visa and medical. He arrives back at the club after two fairly unhappy years in the Aviva Premiership with Bath and Exeter Chiefs.
In his previous stint with the Scotstoun outfit, Matawalu managed to score 24 tries in 74 appearances, and was named player-of-the-season twice in three years.
According to Opta, the official statisticians for the Pro14, Matawalu was the top ranked player in the league for tries, try assists and clean breaks, and second top for metres gained and defenders beaten, during his previous spell at the club. The 28-year-old has been capped 32 times by Fiji.
“It means so much to me. Glasgow Warriors was my first professional club and first club outside of Fiji, and it’s where I met a lot of good people. Dave Rennie is a very good person. He’s very down-to-earth and he had a good chat with me before I decided to come back. He’s a good man,” said Matawalu.
“I always play like it’s my last game and I’m really looking forward to playing in front of the fans again. I’m very excited to be back in Glasgow.”
Head coach Dave Rennie welcomed the signing of “a freak on the rugby field”.
“I’ve seen Niko play a lot of test footy for Fiji and for Glasgow Warriors, when they won the title too. He’s a bit of a freak on the field, he’s a game breaker,” he said.
“I know he was incredibly popular here with the fans and when I met with him he made it very clear that he was very passionate about Glasgow and wanted to come back.”
“We’ve got three really good nines already, Henry (Pyrgos) and Ali (Price) are Scotland internationals and George (Horne) has really impressed us in pre-season.
“Niko is going to have to work really hard, but the fact that he can play on the wing and at full-back is a bonus and his utility value will help us during the Autumn Tests and Six Nations periods.”
“We want to harness his individual brilliance and not coach it out of him, he’ll be dynamic on our artificial pitch.”
“He’s been out of footy for a fair amount of time, so the next month will be about getting his body right so that once he gets his opportunity he’s ready to fire.”