Sport

Navy's Sam Matavesi: 'We Should Back' Forces Sports Stars

The Fiji international has enjoyed a run in the team at Premiership side Northampton Saints, alongside the Army's Lewis Bean.

Royal Navy rugby star Able Seaman Sam Matavesi believes "we should back" top military players to help them reach the highest level.

The Fijian international is enjoying a spell in the top division after signing for Premiership side Northampton Saints in December.

He has joined Army player Lewis Bean at the club and wants to see more forces stars in the spotlight.

"If we have people who are good enough to be at any level in sport, we should back them," he said.

"Don’t get me wrong. I know you have to do a job in the day and give something back to the Navy which I totally understand.

"I think there could be a lot more people like me playing for these clubs if we can back it."

Playing alongside Bean has opened up a whole new chapter to the rivalry between the Army and Navy for Matavesi.

"I didn’t know him other than to say 'All right?' to. I've played against him in every Army-Navy game but he's been one of the best people at the club.

"He’s really welcomed me and just been nice. He’s been a good bloke."

Matavesi has been leading the way for Forces players in professional sports after appearing at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

"As the Army-Navy [match] is getting closer, we are having a bit of chat.

"They asked him what the headbutt was like and he said it wasn’t very good.

"It was all a bit of a laugh but he’s been incredible."

He’s also hoping his experience with Bean will give the Navy an added insight at Twickenham.

"It’s good to see him in this environment to know what he will bring to the Army and how we can use that to our advantage."

Matavesi could also line up against other forces stars in the Premiership when Northampton play Bath, who include the Army’s Semesa Rokoduguni and the RAF’s Josh McNally.

"I’ve never played in a game where I have beaten Lewis or Roko.

"What adds more spice to Bath is my older brother has just signed there, so let’s bring on Bath."

Sam Matavesi won his service’s Sportsman of the Year after appearing at the World Cup in Japan for Fiji.

Those memories have left him itching for more.

"As an experience of playing Australia, Wales, Georgia and Uruguay in that situation, it was amazing," he said.

"It’s made me want the next one and makes you want that next thing."