Rugby | SPORTS

From Wing To Flanker

The Olympian Masivesi Dakuwaqa has begun to excel at the position of openside flanker while playing for Toulon in the French Top 14 competition. Dakuwaqa had signed on as a
23 Nov 2020 15:45
From Wing To Flanker
Touloun winger now turned flanker Masivesi Dakuwaqa in full flight during the French Top 14 competition. Photo: Top 14 Rugby

The Olympian Masivesi Dakuwaqa has begun to excel at the position of openside flanker while playing for Toulon in the French Top 14 competition.

Dakuwaqa had signed on as a winger for Toulon and donned the No.14 jumper at the start of the season. Now he has put a jumper which is half of his winger’s number (No.7) and the Fijian has made all the top coaches in the competition sit up and take notice.


New Role
Toulon manager Patrice Collazo said the idea to move Dakuwaqa to the third row (flanker) was in his mind for some time.

“It’s something we had already anticipated last season,” Collazo said.

“I had a lot of discussion with him (Dakuwaqa) about it, because it was a position he had held before even though he was playing wing with the Western Force when we recruited him.

“At seven, with his selection for Fiji (with which they won the Olympic gold medal in 2016), he had more of a third-row role.

“Today, he is no longer in the same physical condition as when he was in the Western Force or at seven, he is rather around 120 kilos rather than 107-108. These are not the same constraints. “


‘Heart Of The Game’
Collazo said playing in the forwards Dakuwaqa is at the heart of the game and closer to the traffic

At the start of the season, in September, Dakuwaqa (26) had four starts on the wing, two in the Championship and two in the European Challenge.

His performances had not been particularly bad, but he did not shine like Gabin Villière (against Leicester or Montpellier) or Bryce Heem (against Lyon and Bristol), two other Toulon wingers.

“On the wing, I found him a bit padlocked in his five-metre lane even if he was asked to move,” noted Collazo.

“He didn’t do it instinctively.

“In the third row, closer to the ‘traffic, to the heart of the game, Dakuwaqa offers a better performance to his team.

“He has the quality of a franchiser, he plays standing up, he goes in contact with the ground.”

The soft spoken Dakuwaqa has confided with his team-mate Var Matin about his new position.

“I hit more balls, I tackle more, I think I do more work, especially since I like the physical game,” he said after his first tenure at Mayol against Brive, which ended with a 35-19 win.

Against the Corréziens, Dakuwaqa had impressed with his ability to win any collision he was in. He even obtained two penalties for legal scratchings, then won three balls against Agen the following week.

“He’s very impressive because he’s a player who wins his duels. In its register, it hurts.

“He puts on big tackles, he scratches balls, he is relatively complete in fact,” admits his third line partner Raphaël Lakafia.


Special breed
“When he puts his hands in a ruck, it’s hard to get him out. He’s someone who really likes fighting or getting into physical contact,”

Collazo said he finds Dakuwaqa more fulfilled when he trains with the forwards.

“Behind it, it has a lot of constraints, in front it has more of a role of free electron. Whether it is the week in training or the weekend in a match, the Fijian appears much more liberated.

“He fully understood the position. We only supervised him and I talked to him a lot. Everything is there for him to have a lot of fun. “

“The quality he offers is his high speed coupled with his weight.

“It is a bit special and unique in its kind in France. Apart from maybe Sekou Macalou, I don’t see anyone like him (Dakuwaqa),” Collazo added.



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