SPORTS

Chase On For Raka

  The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are keeping their options open for star Clermont winger Alifereti Raka. This was confirmed by Flying Fijians head coach John McKee indicating that the
30 Oct 2018 10:00
Chase On For Raka
Clermont winger Alivereti Raka has been dropped from the France squad for the November Tests due to a delay in the process of his citizenship application while Flying Fijians coach John McKee is keeping his options open. Photo: Zimbio

 

The Fiji Airways Flying Fijians are keeping their options open for star Clermont winger Alifereti Raka.

This was confirmed by Flying Fijians head coach John McKee indicating that the Naitasiri native is also on the radar of the French national team.

The former Nadroga wing grew up in Fiji but moved to France four years ago to join the Clermont academy.

The 25-year-old has been in great form in the French Top 14 and was a surprise omission from the French team selected for the November internationals.

McKee told Radio New Zealand, that Raka has always been on his radar but in the last 18 months France have also shown strong interest.

“It’s quite interesting they haven’t picked him in their squad for November where all the talk up there was that he was going to get selected.

“ So I’m certainly going to revisit that and certainly the door is still open for him to come and play for Fiji,” he said.

“But he’s probably one player- world class winger- who we’d desperately love to have playing for us but the French Federation I know they’ve been talking to him. It’s interesting that at the end of the day they haven’t selected him.”

McKee says there may also be a political element to the Raka’s omission from the France team.

The president of the French Rugby Federation, Bernard Laporte, tweeted that it was his commitment for all players in the French team to be of French nationality.

Raka and former South African Under-20s prop Paul Willemse, who was also overlooked, are waiting for their applications for French citizenship to be processed.

McKee said Raka has a French partner and child, and probably sees France as his long-term home, but the chance to play in a Rugby World Cup next year might convince him to commit to Fiji.

“Well that’s what I’ll be saying to him in the next couple of days. If we can get someone like him and (Josua) Tuisova on the wings, (Semi) Radradra at centre and if (Setareki) Tuicuvu comes through with the quality I know he’s got we’ve really already got a very, very dynamic and dangerous backline.”

 

REG 9 CAMP UPDATE

Eight players from the Fiji Airways Fijian Drua side flew out of the country yesterday morning to join the Flying Fijians Reg 9 camp in Toulouse, France.

The players are expected to be in camp today as they start their preparations for the November Test matches.

The Flying Fijians take on Scotland in a sold out Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh on November 10.

They face Uruguay in Hartpury College ground in England on November 17. On November 24, they ttravel to the Stade de France in Paris to tackle France.

The Test matches is a build-up to next year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

– Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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