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Eddie Jones ends Wallabies speculation on Emmanuel Meafou

By Ian Cameron
Emmanuel Meafou of the Eagles is yellow carded during the round one NRC match between the Sydney Rays and NSW Country Eagles at Leichhardt Oval on September 19, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Wallabies head coach Eddie Jones has ended speculation around the Test future of Toulouse’s giant, Australian second row Emmanuel Meafou.

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Jones has confirmed that Meafou, a formidable Top 14 player known for his towering stature and powerful runs, has announced his decision to play for France instead of representing the green and gold.

The 24-year-old, who was previously involved with the Melbourne Rebels programme in Australia’s Super Rugby competition before falling through the cracks, felt he was being overlooked by the Australian rugby system and decided to explore other opportunities in France back in 2019.

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Eddie Jones gives blockbuster 30 minute interview as he announces groundbreaking new Australia team

Meafou’s impressive performances for Toulouse have not gone unnoticed, and he has caught the attention of French rugby officials who are eager to add him to their national team roster. The prospect of playing in the Six Nations and potentially the Rugby World Cup is undoubtedly a tempting one for the towering forward.

Meafou, who was born in New Zealand but raised in Australia, even trained with Les Bleus despite not being eligible to play for Fabien Galthie’s France until 2024 at the earliest.

“He’s a good young boy from the Western suburbs of Sydney,” Jones said when fielding questions following the selection of his first Wallabies training squad. “He’s decided he wants to play for France. I’ve had a bit of a discussion with him. I only want players who want to play for Australia.

“If he’s made a decision to play for France, which he has, then I wish him all the best and I hope he has a great career. Do I wish he selected Australia? Not really. I can’t control that.

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“So, yeah, there’s not that much of a story there for you mate,” Jones told a French journalist on the zoom call.

The 6’8, 145kg lock’s decision to switch allegiance to France is not a totally uncommon one in the rugby world, with many players opting to represent countries, even where there aren’t familial or ancestral ties.

Although it may come as a blow to Australian rugby fans, Meafou’s decision to play for France is won’t come as a huge shock. With Meafou’s size and power, he is sure to be a force to be reckoned with in the French rugby team, and now French fans will be eager to see what he can bring to the international stage.

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