SPORTS

‘JIFF’ Pathway: New French Rugby Rule allows 19-Year Old Fijian Players Opportunities To Play Professionally

“The main point about JIFF is that a club will highly likely to recruit a JIFF player than a non- JIFF player and will pay him three times more in average.”
05 May 2020 16:35
‘JIFF’ Pathway: New French Rugby Rule allows 19-Year Old Fijian Players Opportunities To Play Professionally
Fiji Airways Flying Fijians stars (left-right) Josua Tuisova, Jale Vatubua and Peceli Yato are eligibile to play under the JIFF criteria in the Top 14 competition. Photos: RWC 2019, Planet Rugby Photo: Simione Haravanua

Young Fijian rugby players at the age of 19 now have the opportunity to undergo training with top club academies in France before they play there professionally.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Clermont agent and Nadroga Rugby Union technical advisor Franck Boivert said this was made possible through the Joueurs Issus des Filières de Formation (JIFF criteria).

“It is very important to know the JIFF rule,” Boivert said.

“The player must spend at least three years in the French Centre Ge Formation (academies). After three years they are considered as French players and are qualified for the Top 14 and other competitions.

“This is a huge advantage for the players as they will be exposed to high level of rugby.

“Firstly, they will be in a professional environment.

“Secondly, they will be playing in a competition that has a very high calibre which is something that we have a hard time to have here in Fiji.”

Already Fijian players like Peceli Yato, Josua Tuisova, Noa Nakaitaci, Virimi Vakatawa, Alivereti Raka, Jale Vatubua and Napolioni Nalaga are eligible under JIFF as they went through the system.

Fijian Under-19 players undergoing training with French academies are halfback Mesake Tove, locks Jone Naulunisau and Henry Spring along with bustling No.8 Alivereti Loaloa.

HIGHER LEVEL

Boivert said there was a big difference if they compared the level of rugby and the categories played between the countries.

“In France, players that are 19, 20 and 21 years of age play in a competition where the level is much higher than the Fiji Under-20 competition which we no longer have.

“In that way they are developed better because they will be exposed week in and week out to better competition than what we can offer them in Fiji.”

MORE $$$ BENEFITS

Boivert added another point of interest was that the JIFF players were valued more than a player that is non-JIFF.

“For example, if there is a Fijian player that is very good and not a JIFF player than his salary will be much less than a player that has gone through the JIFF system.

“That is an advantage the young players have when they go through the JIFF system as they have much better pay than players that join French clubs later.

“At the moment there are limitations in the number of foreign players that clubs can put on game day and those limitations have forced the clubs to recruit younger foreign players.

“So these young players go through the three years.

“The main point about JIFF is that a club will highly likely to recruit a JIFF player than a non- JIFF player and will pay him three times more in average.”

Boivert said a player was eligible to join the academies under the JIFF criteria as soon as turns 19.

“The clubs look for a certain profile and if we identify a player that matches that profile we put him in touch with the club and that’s it.”

FIJI OR FRANCE

Boivert added the system is designed to develop the players who later would make a choice of on whether to play for Fiji or go through another long process of donning the French colours.

“Once they are JIFF players they are totally available to play for Fiji.

“The French clubs are bound to release players for selections; those are rules that cannot be violated by French clubs.

“If a Fijian player wants to play for France, they need to get a passport first and then the player is eligible to play for France. Without it they can’t play.

“The rules to get a French passport are very strict where you have to pass an exam on the French language and to have lived in France for 12 years, therefore, it is for players who want to represent France.”

Boivert said Nadroga Rugby had benefitted from the partnership with Clermont.

“We’ve sent some of our coaches and trainers to France to improve on their knowledge about coaching.

“I go there every year to learn some new techniques that will improve my coaching as well,” he added.
Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedbacksimione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper