The grass is not always greener on the other side. Solomoni “Junior” Rasolea knows this better than most, having struggled to command a starting position at Edinburgh since moving from Western Australia during the summer. But the Fijian-born centre – who has played for the Australian Sevens team – says he has been impressed by the honesty culture at the club.
Having been part of the Western Force side which managed just two wins in the last Super Rugby season, he knows what it is like to be part of a team with a losing habit – Edinburgh have won just one of their first four games this season – but the 25-year-old says that there is a refreshing determination inside the squad to address their failings head-on.
“Back in Australia we did not have a good season at all, we came last,” said Rasolea. “So one thing I have been telling the boys is to keep their heads up and keep going forwards. It is still early in the season and we have to make sure that we get things right in attack, defence and all our systems.”
“One thing I can tell you for sure is that it is way better here than at the team I was at in Super Rugby,” he added. “The way things are and the way we hold each other accountable here is a lot better. Back when we were losing in Super Rugby, there was no accountability, there was no challenging. That was why week after week we were losing every game – everybody was trying to point the finger and getting frustrated by it.”
For Edinburgh’s long suffering supporters who have suffered disappointment on top of disappointment watching the team in recent seasons, patience may be wearing thin – but as one of a clutch of new players brought into the squad this summer with the aim of revitalising their back play, Rasolea says that the light at the end of the tunnel may be closer than we all think.
Rasolea gave a taster of what he can bring to the team’s attack when he came off the bench at half-time during their final pre-season match against Newcastle Falcons and made an immediate impact with his pace and power. He played the full 80 minutes and scored a try in the rain the following week away to Cardiff Blues, but was on the bench for the team’s next two matches against the Scarlets and Leinster, before being rested for last weekend’s defeat at Munster.
He should be back in the frame for tomorrow’s trip to take on Connacht. The champions have also had a slow start, and Rasolea reckons it is a golden opportunity for Edinburgh to kick-start their season. “I have spoken to Duncan Hodge, the backs coach [and now acting head coach], and he has the right mind-set in what he wants to bring into the team. It is just a case of making sure we develop on that so that it pans out at the weekend. I have only played a couple of games so far so I hope I can bring a lot more than I have,” he said.