VILIAME MATA will leave Edinburgh to join Bristol Bears at the end of the current (2023-24) season. The 32-year-old Fijian international No 8, who won Olympic gold with his national 7s team in 2016, is moving on after 120 appearances for the capital side during the last seven and a half seasons.
“Viliame is one of the most powerful and exciting back-row players in the game, so we’re delighted to be bolstering our forward pack with a player of his world-class calibre next season,” said Bears director of rugby.
“While he is destructive and brings gain line on both sides of the ball, he also possesses the passing/offloading skills and experience that will add real value to our team.
“His performances as a centurion for Edinburgh and at the recent Rugby World Cup in France for Fiji, showcased his experience and ability at the top level. We’re pleased to be bringing him to the Bears and the Premiership next season.”
Mata added: “I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Bristol Bears next season. I’m excited for the challenge of playing for a different team, in a different environment and a different league.”
Edinburgh ‘senior’ coach, Sean Everitt, said: “Bill hae been an incredible and standout performer since joining Edinburgh in 2016 and he will go down as one of the greatest overseas players to wear the castle on his chest.
“All at the club wish Bill and his family the very best in his move to Bristol, and he’ll still have a huge role to play in the second half of the campaign as we battle in both the BKT United Rugby Championship and European Challenge Cup.”