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Fiji Time: 10:48 AM on Friday 25 April

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Forever Fiji

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, December 28, 2013

ONCE bitten twice shy. So is the former Flying Fijian Josh Matavesi who has vowed never to put cash before his country again.

The Worcester Warriors centre still regrets his decision to opt out of the national team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

He was playing in the French Top 14 competition for Racing Metro that year.

Matavesi admitted to Mercury Sport that he was talked into staying in Paris by the club's big hitters — a decision he now describes as "stupid".

But come the 2015 RWC, the 23-year-old is ready to seize the opportunity of playing for the national side with both hands.

"Looking back, I was stupid last time to turn it down," Matavesi said.

"I wish I had gone, it's an experience you would never forget.

"I would be lucky to go to the next one. Not many players can just turn down a world cup and say 'Maybe next time'.

"I was put under a lot of pressure from the coaches at Racing. I was halfway on the plane, halfway not on the plane. I was about to leave the day after and the coach pulled me aside, the president was with him, and said 'A few boys aren't going, we can offer you this if you don't go.'

"At the time, the missus was pregnant, I wasn't on a lot of money. In hindsight I was stupid, I missed an experience that millions of people would love to go to. Especially in New Zealand."

Matavesi, who has six Test caps with the Flying Fijians, said he had learnt his lesson.

"Now I have got more control over me and my rugby, the world cup is a big thing for me. I won't ever turn that down again.

"That's a massive goal for me, knowing I have got a shot at playing fly-half is a great thing.

"I practise my goal-kicking every day, I just keep on top of that and keep working on my game."