Rugby Q&A: RWC Team USA Flyhalf Roland Suniula

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RWU: Good to have you here, Roland. Thanks for taking the time.
RS: No problem.

RWU: Let’s get right to it… In terms of the Rugby World Cup, did being from that neck of the woods make you feel more comfortable or more pressured to do well?
RS: Definitely felt a lot pressure to perform, more than being comfortable.

RWU: How did the rain and wind alter your game plan or what you might have done differently, if anything?
RS: The weather didn’t really do much since we prepared a game plan for the NZ conditions during our pre-RWC campaign.

RWU: You had no beard to speak of at the RWC. Are you a rebel or just trying to set a reverse trend? This is trending on Twitter as we speak.
RS: HaHa…  I had no Idea it was a RWC trend let alone its trending on Twitter?? Ha… But, if i had known maybe i would’ve bought in to the trend!

RWU: Jim Witter, a prop with socks older than you and member of the Vintage Whines touring machine, wants to know if there is a Haka that could help him win at the race track.
RS: HaHa… I’m sorry Jim, I’m not much help when it comes to Hakas.. but aggressive slaps to the body while yelling out loud as you can, gets the blood flowing every time!


RWU: Andrew Mezo, VP and front-rower with the New York Rugby Club, asks what changes you would make with USA Rugby to make it more of a rugby breeding ground and would you dissolve Rugby Super League? If he has any business acumen, what does he think will get sponsors?
RS: I would invest more into hiring the best coaches from over seas to run frequent skills & coaching clinics for our best college and high school Rugby players. run more coaching seminars/clinics for our division/Super League coaches as well. And no I think the Super League competition is great it’s all we have, so  we cant afford to lose it. Sure it can be made better but as always, funding is the key issue.


RWU: Harold DeLucia, star player for the NYRC and their U-19s coach, asks: “Did you expect to get the nod at fly-half, while Nese Malifa was getting the start in all the warm up matches?”
RS: No, I most definitely was not. I went into the RWC campaign hoping for a shot but not really expecting one. But I prepared myself each week in case I did.


RWU: Matt Sutton of the Buffalo Rugby Club wants to know if you have any tips for a second row trying to move to flyhalf.
RS: My advice is to stay at second row. Ha Ha… Just  kidding. If you’re serious Matt, practice your handling skills everyday: Catch/Pass….
RWU: You’re too kind. Stay where you are Sutton. You and your brother Jim have a hard enough time catching a cold in Buffalo, let alone tough passes from a scrumhalf. You’re no John Eales.

Roland & Andrew on Yury Kushnarev

RWU: Tell us what it’s like playing with your brothers?
RS: It’s a dream come true. Never really did get the opportunity when we were younger but it’s definitely brought us closer together now that we do it on regular basis.

RWU: Which of you is the best athlete – outside of rugby – and do you compete against each other in non-rugby sports?
RS: I wouldn’t say I was cos I’m not as good at some of the non-rugby activities my other brothers are good at, like tennis, volleyball, pool table/table tennis. We’re all competitive with each other – it’s in our blood. It’s also how we learned to play Rugby.

RWU: What’s next for you, rugby-wise?
RS: For now, committed to the 7s Program till further notice


RWU: We’ve got a bunch of mates on the Chicago Griffins, in fact we played with them in Aspen. Compare the camaraderie on and off the pitch with the Griffins and Eagles.
RS: It’s hard to compare really because there’s not that much difference… whether its Eagles’ tours, Griffins, Boston RFC, 7s whatever team you play for you always deal with different guys, different customs & traditions and personalities but the camaraderie has the same one ingredient, the one thing in common that brings each other close. That’s Unity! the obvious difference is some guys are fortunate enough to be around that environment full time then others.

Shalom & Roland 'rough-it' on Emirates

RWU: If you weren’t living the dream of international rugby player, what would your alternate dream job be?
RS: To Host the Man vs Food show. Get paid to travel the world and eat all the nice food and not worry about my skin folds ever again. (Wink)

RWU: Give us some locker-room tidbit – leaning towards gossip – about somebody in the Eagle front row. Lying is perfectly acceptable.
RS: haha oh dear, well I’m not sure if this is entirely true but it was rumored that a certain front rower (which I will not name), wore the same pair of undies – unwashed – for all the games he was featured in during the RWC.

RWU: Outstanding! We’ll have our Dirty Front Rower, Declan Yeats, investigate. Thanks for your time, mate. We’re rooting for you.
RS: Cheers guys, anytime.

Tune in tomorrow for Friday’s With Phaidra Knight… She’ll be interviewing another female rugby star.

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About Johnathan Wicklow Barberie 118 Articles
JWB is the contrived Kiwi sports personality who can't go ANYWHERE without being asked for an autograph. He always obliges. Find him on Twitter at: @JWB_RWU