Many may not remember Jeremaia Yanuyanutawa. The Fijian born prop signed his first professional rugby contract with the Brumbies in 2009, a moment he says has been one of the greatest in his rugby career so far. He played with the Canberra-based side for three seasons after making his Super Rugby debut in 2010.
He originally started in the back row, but after moving to Australia, Yanuyanutawa was persuaded by England World Cup winner, Trever Woodman, to switch to the front row club during his time at Sydney Uni. He became a stalwart for the Students from 2005 to 2011, famed in Sydney club circles for his strength and try-scoring feats.
Whilst never pulling on the Gold jersey for Australia, Yanuyanutawa represented his home country at the Under 21s before earning 19 caps for the Fijian national side from 2012.
“Winning my first Super Rugby cap in 2010 at Eden Park against the Blues was a dream come true,” Yanuyanutawa said.
“Winning the Pacific Nations Cup with Fiji in 2013 was also very special.”
Born on the 10th April 1985, Yanuyanutawa will celebrate his milestone 30th birthday tomorrow a million miles away from the warm and sunny temperaments of Fiji or Australia.
Yanuyanutawa is currently representing the Glasgow Warriors in the Pro 12 after moving to the UK just over two years ago.
“In 2012 I had finished my final year at the Brumbies and an offer came to play for London Irish.
“The experience was awesome. London is a great city and one of my favourites. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and have had fun experiencing different countries and seeing a part of the world I only ever saw in documentaries and books,” Yanuyanutawa said.
In 2013, Yanuyanutawa signed a one year deal with Glasgow with the likes of Sean Maitland and Euan Murray. After impressing head coach, Gregor Towsend in his first year, Yanuyanutawa has since renewed the deal.
From Fiji to Australia, London to Scotland, Yanuyanutawa has truly made the most of rugby’s worldwide prospects.
Off the field, he’s also making the most of his opportunities and passions, having completed a teaching degree and currently studying a Masters of Business Administration, supported by RUPA’s annual Training and Education (T&E) grants.
“I do some teaching and coaching here at a local high school just to keep in touch with teaching skills. It’s fun and rewarding seeing kids develop. I am learning a lot and the Glasgow Warriors community have been very helpful in facilitating this area.
“I love teaching; it’s something I will definitely get in to after rugby. The MBA is something that will add to my skills as a teacher too as I would like to get in to curriculum planning within Government later in my teaching career.
“Sue Crawford (former Player Development Manager) at the Brumbies was so helpful. Without RUPA’s support I probably would not have completed my first degree and started the MBA.
“Personally, I think the RUPA Player Development Program (PDP) really is unique, and is often the envy of some of the players I have played with here in Europe.”
Yanuyanutawa is another player who considers balancing rugby with personal development as paramount.
“A rugby career can last anywhere between two days to 15 years, but at the end of the day you will have to enter the real world, and not having certain skills can make that time of your life hard.
“It provides a different perspective because sometimes the professional rugby world can be a bubble too.”
His on-field advice is just as profound.
“Always look to improve as a player and look to see what the best players in your position are doing.
“Don’t be closed-minded in your approach to learning new skills in rugby because good players will always have an extra edge.
“Most importantly, enjoy what you are doing because it could all be over in a blink of an eye and it is a privilege to be a professional rugby union player.”