Danny Wilson backs Walter Fifita to bring ‘X-factor’

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Glasgow Warriors head coach Danny Wilson hopes that newly recruited Tongan wing Walter Fifita will make an instant impact after being named on the bench for Saturday’s clash against the Ospreys at Scotstoun.

Various players from the southern hemisphere, including number eight Jack Dempsey, centre Sione Tuipulotu and full-back Josh McKay have all made positive impacts since making the transition to Glasgow Warriors.

Delayed debut

Despite arriving in October, Fifita is yet to make an appearance for the Warriors due to injury, Covid postponements and international duty. However, Fifita’s sheer size was on display when Tonga faced Scotland in last year’s Autumn Nations Series.

“He’s very exciting,” Wilson told the Glasgow Evening Times. “We saw in the Scotland game when he played for Tonga what he’s capable of. He’s had a niggly injury since he’s been with us which means he hasn’t played for quite a period of time, so he’s still getting used to Glasgow and our way of playing, but he’s someone who could make an impact at the tail end of this game.

“What we’ve seen from him is that X-Factor with the ball in hand. He’s very powerful whether in wide channels or coming infield as a carrier and yard-maker.

“He adds to the competition in the back three with Cole [Forbes], Seb [Cancelliere], Kyle Steyn and Josh McKay. We also have Rufus McLean who’s powerful but also extremely quick. So, we have slightly different players which allows us to add to our depth and gives us the ability to play slightly different styles depending on the opposition and the weather.”

Although a Tongan international, Fifita was born in New Zealand before playing for El Salvador in Spain for the 2018/19 season and had a prolific try-scoring record of 13 tries in 16 matches. The wing then managed a brief stint for New Zealand provincial side North Harbour in 2020.

Wilson admits that Fifita has been signed based on his potential, unlike Dempsey, Tuipolotu and McKay, who all put their hand up in Super Rugby.

“Walter’s background has been good at the levels he’s played at, but he maybe needs more exposure to us and the way that we play,” said the coach. “I think he’s going to have to work on the system we play both in attack and defence, which is a huge part of things in Europe, as well as back-field management in terms of covering spaces.

“The boys have really taken to him, he’s settled in nicely and he certainly has that thirst to want to be on the field and play.”

The article Danny Wilson backs Walter Fifita to bring ‘X-factor’ appeared first on Planetrugby.com.

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