x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Another All Black eyes overseas adventure

Viliame Waqaseduadua, New Zealand's star performer at the World Cup Sevens, is ready to join the player-drain away from his country.

DUBAI // Viliame Waqaseduadua, whose star-turn at the World Cup Sevens was one of the few high points of a sorry campaign for New Zealand, is ready to join the player-drain away from his country. Waqaseduadua took his chance to fire a reminder about his talents as he finished this weekend's tournament in Dubai as his side's leading try-scorer. The winger is still only 25, yet has already had three Super 14 sides, the Auckland Blues, the Otago Highlanders and the Waikato Chiefs, plus a career-threatening knee injury. He missed out on the draft for the southern hemisphere's top competition at the start of this term, and turned the short form of the game to revive his career. After catching the eye in Dubai, his future now may reside away from New Zealand. He said: "I have been getting phone calls from overseas, so I need to sit down and weigh up my options. "I could be away overseas as early as next week, but I might have to stay and finish my contract in the NPC [where he plays for North Harbour]. "I signed my contract for the sevens this year before the selection was done for the Super 14. I was keen to play sevens so I could travel, and to get my running-game back again. "I thought it was a good opportunity for me to experience something away from 15s. I am a believer and a Christian, and I believe everything happens for a reason. I always try to be positive about everything that comes my way." After Victor Vito, the highly-rated loose-forward, limped out of the World Cup after aggravating a calf strain before their pool game against the Arabian Gulf, Waqaseduadua was New Zealand's most potent attacking threat. Yet, ironically, it was his error which ultimately cost them a quarter-final win against Wales. With space in front of him and the try-line beckoning, the ball inexplicably squirmed from his grasp. Reprieved, the Welsh went on to claim their second win over New Zealand in the space of a month, on their way to claiming the Melrose Cup. Waqaseduadua added: "It was very disappointing to drop the ball at such a crucial time. I wanted to contribute to a World Cup team."

pradley@thenational.ae