SPORTS

Mau To Decide On Invite

Winger eyes Fijian 7s spot but the French wants him to join their Olympics squad
29 May 2020 15:15
Mau To Decide On Invite
Ledua Mau in action for his Pro D2 club Soyaux Angoulême.

France-based winger, Ledua Mau, wants to play for the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team at the Tokyo Olympic Games and later for the Flying Fijians.

Now the 27-year-old who plays for the Souyaux Angouleme Club in the Pro Division 2 has been invited to join the France 7s training squad to prepare for the Olympic Games.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Mau said, he has not made up his mind.

The speedster had been a training partner of former national 7s captain Osea Kolinisau, who led Fiji’s gold medal win at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Playing alongside lanky Flying Fijians lock Sikeli Nabou, Mau says, if he decides to play for France, he could be the third Fijian player to do so.

The other two are Virimi Vakatawa and Tavite Veredamu.

“I was under Ben Ryan’s programme over here (in France) before he came over to Fiji,” Mau said.

“Now he is based again here (in France) as the technical advisor for the sevens team so he had been asking me if I’m available and eligible to play for France.

“I told him that I’m eligible now, so for me whichever one comes first I will take it.”

Mau said he always seeks advice from Fijian players in the France 7s squad on what the environment is like.

“They told me that it’s professional and they take real good care of the players.

“The well-being of the players are well looked after because they want us to perform and be consistent.

“The clubs invest on the players that play for their national teams.

“For Fiji we don’t have much but we have the spirit to fight for our country and that is what I like.”

When contacted Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer, John O’Connor, said: “We are thankful that we have players who are playing abroad who continue to have the passion and the ambition to represent Fiji.”

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES

The FRU CEO confirmed that during a meeting with players in France at the end of last year, most of the players who have represented our Under-20 and Warriors who are playing in Pro D2 and in lower competitions had indicated that they were interested in representing our national teams.

“But they were not given the opportunity by former coaches.

“With the assistance of the French Rugby Union, we now have an updated database of all our players playing in France and these details are available to our High Performance team to monitor these players.

“This is done so everyone has an opportunity to be considered,” O’Connor said.

He, highlighted that since we have qualified for the World Cup 2023, this monitoring was important as we build depth in all the positions.

“As for the Fijian 7s team, it will be a challenge to get into the team since players based in France do not play 7s consistently and we’ve a huge pool of talented players in Fiji.

“However, such decisions on inclusion in any national team will depend on the national coaches after monitoring the players’ performance and we will inform Gareth (Baber) of the interest expressed by the player so he checks him out.”

WHY FRANCE?

Mau said he took out the offer to play in France in order to support his family.

“My dad always told me to follow my heart, work hard and to be more different than him.

“This is because I can provide for my family and not go through the same hardship my father faced when raising me and my brother.”

JOURNEY

“My rugby career started when I was 18 since I never played in school. I only played soccer.  Later, I joined Suva Grammar School because I wanted to play in the Deans Trophy competition.”

In 2013, Mau made it to the Fijian 7s training squad under head coach Alivereti Dere and his assistant Etuate Waqa.

“I played for Covenant Brothers in the Suva Rugby competition. Playing for Covenant, was where I came to know Kolinisau and we became best friends.

“He really helped me grow as a player through his guidance, advice and encouragement.”

Mau said he was excited over the appointment of Vern Cotter to coach the Flying Fijians.

“I know Vern Cotter because he coached some of my mates in France and they always speak highly of him.”

Mau added that like most Fijian players he just needs that one opportunity to show his potential in trying to claim a spot in the Fijian 7s and Flying Fijians teams.
Edited by  Leone Cabenatabua

Feedbacksimione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

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