Suliasi Vunivalu vs. the small big men of the Brumbies is the duel of the weekend

We’ll say it ’til we’re blue in the face: this is what actually wins big games. It’s the equivalent of the ubiquitous ‘high pressing’ tactic in modern football – it doesn’t matter how talented you are – you could be Liverpool striker Mo Salah, for example – you have to work hard off the ball to put opponents under pressure .

Toole’s extreme pace has another advantage. When the Brumbies start from their left, Toole is so quick that he invariably cuts off the quick throw-in: another of the Brumbies to win those mini-fights within the game that are so crucial to the outcome.


The Brumbies’ wingers are no outliers in the modern game. After Springbok Cheslin Kolbe made such an impression at Rugby World Cup 2019 we have seen a number of small or small players spread widely: Gabin Villiere from France (currently injured unfortunately), Mack Hansen from Ireland, Darcy Graham from Scotland, Kurt-Lee Arendse from South Africa and Capuozzo from Italy. Even Ireland’s Hugo Keenan – the world’s top full-back – isn’t a big man and, like Toole, came through the Sevens circuit.

Australia and New Zealand, meanwhile, have largely fallen for the idea that you need at least one physically dominant presence anywhere in the world.

Vunivalu is a player in this form – and clearly on the road from Jones. And no one can deny that there is an intoxicating appeal to the power winger: the guy who can make something out of nothing against a well-organized defence.

Vunivalu has offered glimpses of this situation during Super Rugby, particularly when given space or a one-on-one situation.

But the rise of Mark Nawaqanitawase gives the Wallabies enough size on a cross and Marika Koroibete is available via a Giteau Law selection.

So is there room for a little big man in Jones’ Wallabies? Saturday night will provide part of the answer.

Check out all the action from the Super Rugby Pacific stream ad-free, live and on-demand at every game Stan sports. Suliasi Vunivalu vs. the small big men of the Brumbies is the duel of the weekend

Ryan Sederquist

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