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Confirmed: Semi Radradra has named his new French club

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)

The exit of Semi Radradra from Bristol was officially confirmed on Friday evening, the in-demand Fijian powerhouse getting unveiled as a new Lyon signing. It had been no secret that he was set for a return to the Top 14 next season given the tightening of the budgets in the Gallagher Premiership; it was just a case of determining where exactly he would end up.

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Bordeaux, the club that he joined Bristol from, were initially thought to be interested in bringing Radradra back to the fold. That trail went cold and the 30-year-old has instead taken up a two-year offer at Lyon, the club he visited last month to inspect their facilities and to allow their medics to check him out.

A statement read: “Lyon are pleased to formalise the signing of Semi Radradra. The current Fijian centre of the Bristol Bears has signed up for a two-year term, starting July 1.

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“Well-known in France, Radradra went through Toulon and then Bordeaux before joining the English Premiership in 2020. Having become a world reference in his position, he is a decisive player with a spectacular style of play.

“A Fijian international, he participated in the 2019 World Cup in Japan. But it was with rugby 7s that he shone, winning the Tokyo Olympics with his country in 2021. Aged 30, he will now return to the Top 14 next season in the jersey of Lyon where he has already built up solid experience in this championship with nearly 50 games played.”

Bristol have already planned for life without Radradra, unveiling the signing of Fijian Drua midfielder Kalaveti Ravouvou earlier this week. Ravouvou announced himself on the Test-level scene with two appearances in November, including a try-scoring effort versus Ireland in Dublin.

That selection followed his emergence earlier in 2022 at the Fijian Drua, the centre starting on a dozen occasions and scoring three tries in Super Rugby Pacific with a franchise that was appearing in that tournament for the first time.

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Shaylen 3 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 9 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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