‘French Touch’

Franck Boivert calls on Flying Fijians to move the ball around and stretch the All Blacks defence
16 Jul 2021 20:20
‘French Touch’
Flying Fijians winger Manasa Mataele (with ball) taken to the ground by Kitione Kamikamica while head coach Vern Cotter looks on. The Flying Fijians face the All Blacks in the second Test at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton on Saturday at 7.05pm. Photo: FRU Media

French rugby’s influence on our players’ development is starting to pay off, says a senior coach.

Speaking to SUNsports yesterday Nadroga and Clermont coaching director Franck Boivert said, this was evident during the Flying Fijian’s performance against the All Blacks during the first Test.

Boivert said majority of the players that played against the All Blacks are playing in France.

“For years many of our players play their trade for Top 14, Pro D1 and D2 clubs and along the way they have developed their rugby,” he said.

“This tough performance was possible thanks to French Rugby and the tough Top 14 competition.”

Boivert said with the exception of number eight Albert Tuisue and halfback Simione Kuruvoli, most of the players were developed, nurtured and coached by the French clubs.

“For those who follow the Top 14 there was no doubt at all that our players were going to take it to the All Blacks,” he said.

“Two players were phenomenal in particular Levani Botia and John Dyer- their clubs La Rochelle and Biarritz did a great Job in developing them to be world class players.

“Clermont’s programme developed Kini Murimurivalu, Peni Ravai, Peceli Yato, Setariki Tuivucu while Brive programme produced Ben Narisia, Mesake Doge and Eneriko Buliruarua. Ben Volavola led Perpignan to win the Pro D2 Championship title.

“Waisea Nayacalevu is a key player at Stade Francais and he had a great game. Leone Nakarawa was with Racing and now Toulon. Temo Mayanavanua became a star with Lyon and showed it.”

Boivert said hooker Sam Matavesi played for Toulouse last year when they won the Top 14 title.

“Nemani Nadolo was a beast with Montpellier and imagine that there was no Josua Tuisova, a top try scorer in the Top 14.”

Boivert said on top of that Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter had an eight- year experience of coaching top French clubs Clermont and Montpellier.


Tomorrow’s Test

Boivert said the Flying Fijians would have to move the ball around to stretch and tire the All Blacks defence.

“We need to stretch their defence right to the wingers. Last week when we did that we found gaps and the All Blacks were completely lost.

“We should not pick and go close to the goal-line where we can lose the ball but instead offload.

“It’s that kind of play that led to Mesulame’s (Kunavula) try.

“That is play the offload game and the Fijian players are best in the world at playing standing up and not laying down.”

“Our backline’s defensive line speed should be accurate and fast if we are to stop their momentum. I’m sure our forwards coach Jason Ryan have worked on how we can counter the mauls.”

Boivert said the scrums and lineouts were good so they would have to lift it to another level.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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