Rugby | SPORTS

Why Semi Radradra?

Coach Vern Cotter Explains as he works on finalising Flying Fijians' Captain to the World Cup.
27 Oct 2022 16:43
Why Semi Radradra?
Flying Fijians captain Waisea Nayacalevu, with fellow team members and the Mayor of Libourne, Philippe Buisson, in France. The Flying Fijians will be based in Libourne during the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Supplied

One of the main reasons behind the selection of star centre Semi Radradra into the Flying Fijians squad for the November Test matches was to boost the leadership aspect of the team.

This was clarified to SUNsports yesterday by Flying Fijians head coach Vern Cotter. The Flying Fijians are based in Libourne, South Western of France.

The team was welcomed by the Mayor of Libourne, Philippe Buisson, on Tuesday. This will also be the Flying Fijians base during next year’s Rugby World Cup.

In Cotter’s first assignment with the Flying Fijians during the Autumn Nations Cup in 2020, Radradra was his choice of captain.

In 2021, Radradra missed out selection due to his commitment with the Fijian men’s sevens team that won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he injured his knee.

He later aggravated it while playing for Bristol Bears in the Gallagher Premiership before undergoing rehab.

During his absence the Flying Fijians had been captained by Levani Botia, Waisea Nayacalevu, Leone Nakarawa and Api Ratuniyarawa.

Nayacalevu is expected to be given the captaincy’s job in the absence of Radradra.

Bears director of coaching Pat Lam, in an earlier interview, indicated that Radradra would be out of injury rehab by November 5.

“Semi was due to be back playing on November 5, which would have enabled him to join us and perhaps play the last game against the French Babaas,” Cotter said.

“More importantly he could have spent time with us, bringing his experience and professionalism as a role model.” Cotter indicated that he had spoken with Radradra who was disappointed about the decision made.”

“Semi is disappointed but he will continue his rehab with next year’s Rugby World Cup in mind.”

“Bristol reevaluated Semi’s condition and decided that his return to play would be at the end of November. That effectively takes Semi out of the tour unfortunately.”

Stepping in for Radradra, is burly Castres centre, Adrea Cocagi, who has formed a formidable partnership with Vilimoni Botitu.

The Flying Fijian play Scotland on November 5 at the Edinburgh Stadium followed by Ireland on November 12 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin with November 19 clash against the French Barbarians in Lille, France.


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