Patrick Tuivua, the New Caledonian phenomenon who oscillates between the XV of France and the All Blacks

Patrick Tuivua, the New Caledonian phenomenon who oscillates between the XV of France and the All Blacks

The Caledonian third-row, who plays in New Zealand, has played two caps for the France Under-20s, but has dreams of making the All Blacks.

His first steps with the French U-20 national team caused a stir. Patrick Tuivua played two matches for his country during the recent Six Nations Championship, and was named man of the match against Ireland. The problem: The player is torn between France – he has JIFF (Training Channel Player) status having started at Caledonia club JSL Normandie Rugby and having passed through Pôle France in Noumea – and New Zealand, where he has won a scholarship to Lindisfarne College (in Hastings, east of the island North), at the age of 15 years.

The powerful third row (1.91m, 114kg) has been called up to the New Zealand U19 training camp. But credit goes to Boris Bouhraoua, a consultant at Canal+, and during the broadcast on the encrypted channel of a match for his team Hawke's Bay, the Blues crew discovered this phenomenon, and he is the nephew of the pillar Laurent Simotoja (he passed through the French stadium and La Rochelle). ), which was completely under the federal radar.

Which country will he choose for his international career? The All Blacks have scouted the French-born player who plays for the Hawke's Bay Magpies (his contract runs until 2025) in the NPC, the Kiwi provincial championship, and could make his Super Rugby debut with the Hurricanes of Wellington. Former La Rochelle and Clermont coach Jono Gibbs takes charge of the New Zealand U20 national team, which launches the famous “Baby Black” team. He confirmed the team : “Patrick is still eligible to make the All Blacks squad. If the Hurricanes draft him, it's because they believe in him. And this is the royal road to joining the All Blacks.

“I will still be eligible for the All Blacks next year.”

For now, the fact that he has been selected for France's under-20 squad has not 'tied him down' in France, as the French Football Federation has assured us, which has set up a 'French Development Team' which 'obstructs'. A legal battle between the FFR and NZRU over Patrick is not expected. Toifua, who will be able to choose the choice he wants. “I will still be eligible for the All Blacks next year, after five years in New Zealand.”“, explains L the team. In the meantime, the promising phenomenon has become of interest to several Top 14 teams: he has already visited facilities in La Rochelle and Toulon.

The French U-20 team, a three-time world champion, is counting on its weight in the upcoming World Cup finals, which will be held from June 29 to July 19 in South Africa. In response to a question in a press conference during the last tournament, Patrick Tuivua said: “Obviously they're three-time world champions, right? Maybe it'll be a fourth time. Let's hope…” Unless Fabian Galti decides to take him to Argentina for a summer tour on the 15th of France against Pumas. Just to “lock” it forever.

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