Christ Tshiunza EURFC Headshot 2021/22
Topsham one week, the Principality Stadium the next for student Christ Tshiunza
Topsham one week, the Principality Stadium the next!
That goal is now finally looking like a reality for current student Christ Tshiunza, having been named amongst the replacements for Wales’ test match with Fiji on Saturday.
It caps a remarkable rise for Tshiunza, who could become the first ever BUCS Super Rugby player to play for a Tier 1 nation and his university in the same season.
The young forward played a crucial part in EURFC’s victories over Cardiff University and Leeds Beckett last month and, whilst both matches were played in front of vocal support, nothing will compare to the roar of the Welsh crowd when he runs out on Saturday.
Tshiunza has also tasted Premiership action this season for Exeter Chiefs, with the potential of an international call-up set to be the icing on the cake after what has been a quite stunning start to the season.
Last weekend, the Welsh were unlucky to lose a tight encounter with World Champions South Africa (23-18.) It was a result that Head Coach Wayne Pivac admitted “was [their] own undoing really with a few lapses in discipline,” despite a much-improved performance from his side. This week, they will come up against a Fijian side who will look to create chances from everywhere. “They’re big, powerful and very quick out wide,” Pivac noted, as he admitted that he expects Fiji to offer a threat.
With a number of injuries to key personnel, Pivac has shuffled his team this weekend, giving a number of opportunities to those who didn’t feature in the opening two matches.
“We want to be able to use our whole squad where we can,” explained Pivac, with a number of changes to the side from last week’s narrow South Africa defeat.
When discussing the potential for Tshiunza to make his international debut, Pivac was quick to sing the praises of the EURFC man.
“We’re looking at him in the future as a player that can hopefully cover two positions at second-row and six. He played 60 minutes for Exeter Chiefs at the weekend as well, which was good for him,” Pivac added. “We’re really looking forward to seeing him out there. He’ll be full of energy. He’s very excited about the opportunity and he’s one for the future.”
Commenting on Tshiunza’s inclusion in the matchday squad, Director of Rugby Keith Fleming expressed his pleasure at seeing another EURFC player make the leap into the test arena.
“It’s fantastic for Christ. He’s humble, hard-working and fully deserving of this opportunity,” explained Fleming.
“I have no doubt that he will excel on the international stage and his selection further highlights the success of the programme here at the university.”
All at EURFC wish Christ the best of luck ahead of Saturday’s match. It’s going to be some encounter!
Harry Scott-Munro (EURFC Head of Media)
Date: 11 November 2021