Josh Matavesi’s first interview with Racing Metro’s website translates from French original.
A little over three weeks since his arrival as a medical joker to cover the absence of Juan Hernandez , Josh Matavesi has been called into the sky blues and white’s match day squad for the first time for Saturday’s clash at Colombes against Agen. A prospect which delights the Fijian, who confided his delight to have joined the Hauts-de-Seine club.
Josh can you tell us a little about your rugby career so far?
JM – I started playing in England where I was born and brought up. I come from Cornwall in the south west of the country. I come from a rugby mad family I started playing when I was four years old.
You always wanted to play rugby?
JM – Oh yes always, my father and mother were so passionate about the game it just seemed natural to follow and play too. I’ve never imagined doing anything else. I remember when young a teacher asking us what we wanted to do when we grew up, I instinctively replied “Professional rugby player”. Yes but after she insisted “Nothing…. I want to play rugby” (laughs).
So after you graduated through school?
JM – Yes I played for Camborne School first team, then at around 15-16 Mr Robin Cowling visited asking if I wanted to join College, Truro College specialised in rugby. So I went along and the regime was very professional, the training, matches … everything revolved around rugby. Then at 18 I followed Robin when he went up to the Exeter Chiefs Academy.
You were at Exeter for two years, did you hesitate when Racing contacted you?
JM – Not really. I wanted to move on as I wasn’t really getting much game time. On the other hand I had made some good friends there and you don’t really think that you’ll part from them, but sometimes things don’t work out as you hoped. But I’ve no regret in coming to Paris. On the contrary. I’ve only been here a few weeks but it seems like I’ve been here months even years already!
Did you know any of the Racing players before your arrival?
JM – I knew the Fijians Albert Vulivuli, Sireli Bobo and Jone Quo Nailiko with whom I’d played with for Fiji (ndlr Josh has 6 caps for Fiji). They helped me settle in and as I already said it’s gone really well acclimatising to my new club. I still can’t believe I am training with guys like Francois Steyn , a player I have followed since I was 16, and today he’s giving me little tips during training..Unbelievable!
You can play fly-half, centre and full-back. Do you have a preference?
JM- I enjoy playing in any of these positions. I like playing at fly-half as I can dictate play. You see a lot of the ball and have to tackle, you take the ball up to the opponent’s defence looking to off-load, the same at centre. At full back you’ve got a bit more freedom especially on the counter. For me it doesn’t really matter which position I play as I just love to play.
Having only just arrived you are already in the match day squad. You must be pleased?
JM- Oh yes and I am super impatient to play. I am pleased that Pierre Berbizier and Simon Mannix are already showing confidence in me. I am still learning the combinations but no problems once on the pitch it should all click. I am pleased to be starting at home (Stade Colombes) with the home support, that will be great. Roll on Saturday, I don’t want to wait any longer (laughs).