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Vunivalu sees Pacific Test as Fiji trial

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/05/2017 Scott Bailey
Suliasi Vunivalu © Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Suliasi Vunivalu

Melbourne's Fijian flyer Suliasi Vunivalu has refused to be drawn on speculation he could be open to a switch to Australia or New Zealand as he prepares for the Pacific Test.

Instead the 21-year-old is treating Saturday's clash against Tonga as a Rugby League World Cup trial for the island nation.

Vunivalu's representative eligibility has been a keen point of discussion this week, following countryman Semi Radradra's defection to the Kangaroos last season.

And now the Storm's tryscoring sensation threatens to be the next player caught in an international tug-of-war.

The Fijian-born star has turned into one of the most potent finishers in the history of the game since his debut last year.

His 31 tries in 29 NRL matches put him third on the all-time list for scoring strike rates at 1.06 per match, among players with at least 30 tries.

And he has now revealed his first goal is to prove himself worthy enough to represent the Bati come October.

"This is a trial for the World Cup," Vunivalu told AAP.

"Hopefully I'll play good and make it to the World Cup with the Fiji squad.

"I always wanted to one day represent my country.

"But to come this early I'm pretty happy with that. I just can't wait to get on and play on Saturday."

Under rugby league's dual-eligibility rules, players can turn out for tier-two nations if they are not selected for tier-one countries Australia, New Zealand or England.

The Kiwis made an advance to attempt to secure the youngster's eligibility last year - after he boarded there as a teenager - but had their request denied by the Rugby League International Federation.

When pressed on whether he one day plans to attempt to represent Australia, Vunivalu was far more coy this week, refusing to comment on whether he had aspirations to be a Kangaroo as soon as this year.

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