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How Fiji could line up next year after changes to eligibility rules

Fiji

Fiji could welcome a number of high-profile stars who have represented other countries next year, following changes to World Rugby’s eligibility rules.

World Rugby announced yesterday that players can now change their national allegiance, as long as they haven’t played international rugby in three years and if either themselves, their parents or their grandparents were born in the country they now wish to represent.

The changes look set to allow a whole host of players represent a second country – for example, CJ Stander could conceivably play for South Africa in 2024 if he comes out of retirement – but the Pacific Islands certainly have the most to gain.

Fiji may not have quite as much to gain as Tonga or Samoa, as a number of excellent Fijians are still involved with other countries – such as Australia’s Samu Kerevi, France’s Virimi Vatakawa and New Zealand’s Sevu Reece – but they can still add to their talent.

Former All Blacks, Wallabies, England and France stars could switch countries.

There is a wide raft of superb backs who have played for other countries who can now represent Fiji, so much so that it would be impossible to fit them all into the one team, given the talent the flying Fijians already boast.

Former France winger Noa Nakaitaci will be eligible having last played for Les Bleus in 2017, along with former All Blacks Waisake Naholo and Seta Tamanivalu, former Wallabies Tevita Kuridrani (eligible in October 2022) and Taqele Naiyaravoro and former England winger Semesa Rokoduguni.

All of the above may struggle to get into Fiji’s starting team on a regular basis, but they would certainly be valuable squad players who will add massively to the Flying Fijian’s depth.

The majority of Fijians who have represented other countries are backs, although former England number eight Nathan Hughes would be a valuable addition to Fiji’s pack, when he becomes eligible in March 2022.

Check out how Fiji could line up under the new eligibility rules below.

15. Semi Radradra
14. Taqele Naiyaravoro (Ex-Australia)
13. Seta Tamanivalu (Ex-New Zealand)
12. Tevita Kuridrani (Ex-Australia)
11. Noa Nakaitaci (Ex-France)
10. Ben Volavola
9. Frank Lomani
8. Nathan Hughes (Ex-England)
7. Peceli Yato
6. Viliame Mata
5. Temo Mayanavanua
4. Api Ratuniyarawa
3. Mesake Doge
2. Sam Matavesi
1. Peni Ravai

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