Bristol Bears sign Viliame Mata ahead of 2024/25 season

Viliame Mata in action for Fiji in last year's World Cup
©Pauline Ballet - World Rugby

Bristol Bears have announced the signing of Fiji international Viliame Mata ahead of the 2024/25 season.

The 32-year-old made his professional rugby debut with Edinburgh in 2016 and has racked up over 100 appearances for the Scottish regional club. He was nominated for EPCR Player of the Year and named Guinness PRO14 Players’ Player of the Year in 2018/19 season.

“I’m truly grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Bristol Bears next season. I’m excited for the challenge of playing for a different team, in a different environment and a different league," he told the club's official website.

He made his Test debut for Fiji in 2017 and was one of the try-scorer in their 2023 World Cup quarter-final against England. He also represented Fiji 7s side in the 2016 Rio Olympics where he went on to win the gold medal.

“Viliame is one of the most powerful and exciting back-row players in the game, so we’re delighted to be bolstering our forward pack with a player of his world-class calibre next season," said Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam.

“While he is destructive and brings gain line on both sides of the ball, he also possesses the passing/offloading skills and experience that will add real value to our team.

“His performances as a centurion for Edinburgh and at the recent Rugby World Cup in France for Fiji, showcased his experience and ability at the top level. We’re pleased to be bringing him to the Bears and the Premiership next season.”

Bristol are at eighth place in the Gallagher Premiership table with four wins from 10 matches.