Rugby Union

Fijia rugby stars who chose to represent another nation

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Whilst being one of the best sevens teams in the world, Fiji have yet to achieve much success in the 15s game. Despite having a rich history of producing monster sized wingers and lighting quick 'five-eighths', there has been an abundance of talent lost to other international sides.

It seems that with the lack of success, the majority of really talented Fijian youngsters are committing to opposing countries earlier on in their careers, using their family lineage or residency as a reason.

We take a look at five of the biggest international stars who were all born in Fiji, however play for a rival international side.

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Samu Kerevi - Queensland Reds

Reds' centre Kerevi has had an unreal season, scoring six tries and smashing his way into Australia's World Cup wider training group at the age of 21. Weighing 104kg, Kerevi is a workhorse in defence and a nightmare to tackle one on one.

Proving he can play on the top stage, he recently scored two tries past Hurricanes and All Blacks centre partnership Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith with ease, also beating fellow All Black Julian Savea on the way to the line.

Born in the tiny village of Viseisei in Fiji, Kerevi moved to Australia as a child but ended up representing Fiji U20 at the 2012 Junior IRB World Championship. A year later he was selected into the Australia U20 side for the 2013 tournament, but missed out because of injury.

Quickly becoming a stalwart in the Reds' attacking based back-line, Kerevi has been a shoe-in for a Wallabies World Cup squad place, impressing Michael Cheika and being selected in the initial 22 man training team.

Chris Kuridrani - Queensland Reds

Speedy winger Kuridrani is another young prospect plying his trade with the Brisbane based club the Queensland Reds. Another former Fiji U20s international, Kuridrani later chose to play for Australia U20s and announce his availability for their elite squad, in the hope he can play alongside his cousin and fellow Fijian/Australian international player, Tevita Kuridrani.

Whilst he wasn't born in Fiji, Kuridrani's brother is none other than Fijian captain Nemani Nadolo. This family backing might have seen him stray towards representing Fiji, however the possibility of being picked for the Australia squad was too tempting. Another shining light in a poor Reds season, Kuridrani is set for an exciting international future.

Taqele Naiyaravoro - NSW Waratahs

Taqele Naiyaravoro looked set for his Australia debut, after shining in his debut season for the NSW Waratahs in the Super 14.

However after being overlooked, he has reportedly signed a contract to join Pro 12 side Glasgow Warriors for the start of the next season. Standing at 6ft5in and weighing over 120kg, he is a lump in defence and near impossible to stop five metres out from the line.

A Rugby League convert, Naiyaravoro will now be unavailable for selection to the Wallabies squad, on the grounds of him playing overseas. This might have opened up a return to the Fiji national set up for the big winger, however reports from Glasgow claim that he has pledged his international future to Scotland.

He will have to live there for three years, but you can expect to see the mountain of a man pulling on a Scotland shirt for the 2019 Six Nations and World Cup.

Semesa Rokoduguni - Bath Rugby

England international Rokoduguni grew up in Fiji and joined the Armed Forces in 2008. After impressive appearances for the Army Rugby Union team, he was signed by Bath Rugby Club and went on to have his debut for the England in 2014.

A strong winger with bags full of pace, his impressive performances have seen him sky rocket from being a soldier and part time player, to being an England international, all in the space of three years.

Despite qualifying to play for Fiji under residency laws, Rokoduguni was never even considered for the squad before he burst onto the professional scene with Bath. By then it was already too late and he had his eyes set on his first England cap, something he achieved in a narrow loss to the All Blacks. Yet another talented prospect that Fiji have missed out on.

Waisake Naholo - Highlanders

A former New Zealand U20 international winger, Waisake Naholo has laid his claim for an All Blacks World Cup space by having a storming season in the super 14. The Fijian born flyer has been bulldozing his way over the gain line all year, attracting the attention of the New Zealand scouts along the way.

However, after reportedly signing a contract with French side Clermont, Naholo could find himself in a bit of a pickle. Rumours are that he will back out of the contract if he is offered a place on the New Zealand national side - something that is very likely to happen before the 2015 World Cup.

If Naholo has to honour the contract, then he will no longer be available for selection for the All Blacks. A prodigious talent for the Highlanders, he would be an asset for any national side.

Five amazing talents who could be playing for Fiji, but have decided to represent a different international team. Just imagine how devastating the Fijian back line would look like if these guys had decided to represent their home country.

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Topics:
Rugby Union
Australia Rugby
England Rugby
Six Nations
New Zeland Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup

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