International Player Poaching Continues as Brive Open Academy in Fiji

Fiji Rugby

French side Brive are setting up an academy in the Pacific Island nation of Fiji in a bid to draw playing talent from the rugby mad country.

The Fiji Times reports that the academy is set to open in February at the Ratu Navula College in Nadi.

Brive Director of Rugby Nicolas Godignon is believed to have won permission from the Fijian education authorities which has has described as a long-term project aimed at helping young players find professional contracts in France.

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“The academy will focus on training and guiding the players to become professional players so that they can improve their playing career,” Godignon told the newspaper.

“The academy will focus on training and guiding the players to become professional players so that they can improve their playing career,” Godignon told the newspaper.

25 players will be selected to join the academy who will have access to top level training in addition to French lessons.

Brive already have five Fijian players on their boos in Benito Masilevu, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, Malakai Radikadike, Venione Voretamaya and Sisaro Koyamaibole.

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Koyamaibole believes that the Brive academy will benefit rugby in Fiji by developing professional players.

“We are not here to poach players but we are thinking of their future and if they go through the programme, they can also do further studies in France and follow in the footsteps of some well-known players,” he said.

It does however raise the question of which side the young academy members may opt to represent in the future should they become eligible for the French national side due to residency rules.

There is already a great deal of debate surrounding the international ‘poaching’ of players and it seems schemes like this are only like to further heighten the issue.

It’s hard to imagine young Fijians who have been taught French turning down the opportunity to represent France internationally should they be given the chance, especially given the financial rewards of representing a top 10 side.

Do you think this is the first step to much larger issues when it comes to poaching international talent?

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