Despite being one of the more camera shy members of the Brumbies squad and sporting a difficult name to spell, Jerry Yanuyanutawa is ready to step into the spotlight in 2012 and put in the biggest season of his career.
The Fijian giant joined the Brumbies in 2009 on the back of a quality season with Sydney University. He was the only member of the Australia A squad without a professional contract in 2008 and was quickly snapped up by the Brumbies later that year.
But since then Yanuyanutawa has battled a series of injuries which have stunted his progression. Injury wise, Yanuyanutawa describes 2010 as a year that “has negatively shaped my career.”
A broken left leg, dislocated left ankle and compound fractures in both legs forced Yanuyanutawa to spend more time of the sideline than any other Brumbies forward making it tough for him to keep his earlier momentum.
“The last two years I haven’t really achieved what I wanted to rugby-wise it’s been a big test for me to keep going and has certainly improved my Christian faith,” Yanuyanutawa said.
“When I got here in 2009 I had set myself goals to be a class prop, improve my scrummaging and become a regular member of the match-day 22.
“I had a good run towards the end of last year but before that injuries haven’t helped in terms of my development.
“The hunger and enthusiasm is still there and I’m looking forward to 2012 being a big season for me. For the first time in a couple of years I’m injury free and feeling ready for the season to start.”
Born in Labasa and educated in Suva, Fiji, Yanuyanutawa has been working hard to develop the technical side of his game for the last three seasons.
He credits fellow Brumby Dan Palmer for giving him the tools to combat the best scrummaging units the Super Rugby competition has to offer.
“Learning from Daniel Palmer has been a big blessing in disguise, as far as having that extra competition there for positions,” Yanuyanutawa said.
“He’s one of the most technically gifted and under-rated props in the country so to learn from him has been great for my own game.
“Also having a new, young group here has reinvigorated my own desire to achieve my potential and have a really good crack at the 2012 season.
“Guys like Siliva Siliva and Scotty Sio are stars of the future and they’re keeping us older guys on our toes.”
Yanuyanutawa will graduate from the Australian College of Physical Education in 2012 with a teaching degree having spent the last five years studying.
He said life after rugby has always been a big focus in his personal development.
“I’d love to have a career in education and to possibly move into government work with the education department either here in Australia or back home in Fiji later down the track,” Yanuyanutawa said.
“Teaching is something that I’ve always thought to be a quality career and I’ve enjoyed my time in prac and at University.
“It’s comforting to know that I’ve got something I enjoy to fall back on once my time with rugby is finished.”
H/W: 1.82m, 114kg
DOB: 10/04/1985, Suva, Fiji
SR Caps: 9