Skip to main content

Pte Junior Bulumakau (3 Scots) is relishing life as part of the Army Men’s coaching team – and hopes he can help the players’ mindsets as they continue preparations for the Inter-Services Championship in May.

The Fijian, who previously played professionally for Glasgow Warriors, Doncaster Knights and Coventry, has now switched his attentions to coaching and was in the Red Shirts’ dug-out for the impressive 71-14 victory at Cambridge 1923s on Wednesday night.

Junior has been busy working with Highland Rugby in Inverness, Scotland, and is also preparing the Caledonia Reds for their upcoming Inter-District competition as well as leading the Infantry in the Corps Championship.

And he had no hesitation in accepting an offer from Army Head Coach Lt Col Tim Osman to get involved at Senior level, commenting: “It’s been an honour and privilege to come back into the squad, but thanks to my regiment and the Army for letting me come along and be part of the set-up.

“It’s an opportunity to do a different role and in the past few weeks, as coaches we’ve worked hard to pick the right players in the environment and that’s what we wanted.

“Everyone’s adapted to it and the boys seem to be enjoying the work ethic we’re putting in as coaches during the week – and it showed with the result against a good side.”

The Red Shirts were in fine form at Volac Park, building up a 45-0 interval lead before four more second-half scores added gloss to the scoreline, Pte Adriu Muritoki (3 Scots), Hldr Vula (4 Scots) and Pte Olly Butterworth (2 Para) all at the double as LCpl Curtis Booth (RE), Spr Todd Johnson (RE), LCpl Solodrau Radianirova (REME), LCpl Pita Ratukadreu (REME) and Rfn Vili Salusalu (Rifles) all crossed the whitewash.

Expanding on what he wants to help the side with, Junior – who suffered a serious knee injury in 2020 which ended his career and at one point left him in danger of losing his leg – continued: “Coming down from Scotland, nothing changes in the game of rugby, but just the mindset – as a player that was what drove me forward, so as a coach I want to give that back to the players.

“Army life is good, and I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without the regiment’s support. 3 Scots helped with my playing career and now my coaching, and I want to give back to them because I feel I owe them a lot.

“I want to give 110 per cent to it from minute one to minute 80, and being around the young players I want to drag them along and help them achieve our goals this season.”

While Pte Bulumakau is hoping to add to the group, he is also to act as a sponge while in camp and added: “I’m hoping to learn as much as possible from Tim and Wess (Backs coach Sgt Gerhard Wessels, RE) because they’ve been coaching for five or six years.

“The only way to learn is to ask questions – if you don’t ask anything you won’t learn – so I keep nagging them ‘how you do this’ in the Army environment?

“I want to learn from Wess and what he’s done at the Engineers, and then implement that with the Infantry.”

With the Red Shirts squad likely to be cut ahead of the final warm-up games against the French Army and Bedford Blues, Junior is confident things are on track as he ended: “The brotherhood we have now is different because it is really open – it doesn’t matter what cap badge you wear.

“From Day One it was good, and it’s just moved up, so there is a lot of potential. It’s a good job for the coaches and challenges us because all the players are working hard to get a spot.”

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn


A full gallery of images from the match is available HERE images are free to download for personal use.  Create an account, use the add to cart function and follow the check out process.


Tickets for the 2024 Inter Service Championship matches are on sale now!

To purchase yours click the links below;

Saturday 4th May | Army v Navy | Twickenham | BUY TICKETS

Saturday 11th May | Army v RAF | Kingsholm | BUY TICKETS