Saturday, 31 December 2011

One to Watch: Viliame Iongi

I was down at Rodney Parade this evening to watch the less than entertaining game between the Dragons and Scarlets. But one player caught my eye with what little ball he had. Recently signed Scarlet wing Viliame Iongi.

Iongi was signed towards the end of October this year. Nigel Davies (Scarlets coach) showed tremendous faith in the 22-year-old by naming him in the squad to face the Dragons on November 25th, just 2 days after Iongi had arrived in Wales. When talking about Iongi, Davies said: "He's impressed us with his pace and will provide us with some new options. He's been full of energy in training."

The highlight of his 9 tests for Tonga has got to be his 4 well finished tries against USA. During 3 of those tries he showed electrifying pace to finish well with very little room to work in. His International stats are pretty impressive scoring 7 tries in 9 tests including a tough group in the RWC.

On joining the Scarlets Iongi says: "It's a great opportunity for me and as my first professional rugby contract.

"I'm looking forward to being part of such a professional set-up and will give it everything I can. The Scarlets play great rugby and I'm looking forward to being part of the team."

The speedsters only previous club was the Brumbies Academy in Australia but as he states this is his first professional contract, and I think this may prove to be a great signing for the region.

As for his form since arriving in Wales, he's played 3 games for the Scarlets and scored one try against Ulster in his first start for the Scarlets at the beginning of December, and if Davies says that Iongi is working hard in training and enjoying his rugby then i'm very excited about what is to come from the youngster in 2012.

The timing of this signing is very convenient when you consider that Sean Lamont is going back to Scotland to join the Glasgow Warriors at the end of the season. This could be a big opportunity for the Tongan to cement his place in the team and become a prominent name in professional rugby. And I for one will be watching him closely and I expect a big 2012 from the winger, providing he gets the chance.

Iongi's first 5-pointer for the Scarlets

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