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Scarlets set to lose ex-All Black Vaea Fifita - report

By Ian Cameron
Vaea Fifita of Scarlets looks on during the EPCR Challenge Cup match between Scarlets and Black Lion at Parc y Scarlets on December 15, 2023 in Llanelli, Wales. (Photo by Ryan Hiscott/Getty Images)

According to Midi Olympique, Montpellier is set to sign New Zealand and Tongan international Vaea Fifita.

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His imminent transfer to Montpellier would see him move closer to his elder brother Leva, who has also made a name for himself in French rugby since joining Oyonnax.

Montpellier, who lost Zach Mercer last season but gained Sam Simmonds, are aiming to add depth to their back row and second-row options. At 31, Fifita’s versatility allows him to excel across all third-line positions and even as a lock, where he has played no less than 55 times during his professional career.

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With an impressive frame of 1.96m and weighing 116kg, Fifita has made his mark in European rugby since 2021. He began his northern hemisphere adventure at Wasps before moving to Welsh URC side Scarlets in Wales where he showcased his skills for the last two seasons.

With eleven caps for the All Blacks, including a memorable try against Argentina during his debut in the 2017 Rugby Championship, Fifita talent is certainly well-established.

Despite falling off the New Zealand selection radar after 2019, he made a comeback on the international stage for Tonga in late 2022 and went on to participate in two World Cup matches last year at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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J
Jon 3 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

> it was apparent Robertson was worried about his lack of experience at half-back, hence the decision to start veteran TJ Perenara and put Finlay Christie, the next most experienced number nine, on the bench. I don’t think it was this at all. It was a general scope he was putting over all the playerbase, he went with this cohesion factor in every position. > If the main priority is to build different tactical elements to the gameplan, then Ratima is the man in whom Robertson needs to trust and promote. This also I think is antagonist towards the reference game plans. The other plans do not need the speed of which Perenara (atleast) can’t provide, and I think personal is going to be the main point of difference between these games/opponents. That is the aspect of which I think most people will struggle to grasp, a horses for course selection policy over the typical ‘Top All Black 15’. That best 15 group of players is going to have to get broken down into categories. So it test one we saw Christie control the game to nullify the English threats out of existence and grind to a win. In test two we saw Ratima need to come on which dictated that this time they would run them off their feet with speed and the space did open up and the victory did come. Horses for courses. The same concepts are going to exist for every group, front row, lock and loose forward balance, midfield, and outside backs all can have positional changes that the players may be asked to accentualize on and develop. There might be some that _it_ will not ever click for, but they’ll hopefully still be getting to enjoy unbelievable comeback victories and late game shutouts to close it down. Knowing does not mean not enjoying.

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