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Matavesi lands dream temporary move

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Fijian Sam Matavesi is about to make a massive leap... from mid-table English Championship to trophy-chasing in France

Fijian hooker Sam Matavesi has landed himself an incredible end-of-season move, trading Cornish Pirates’ mid-table Championship battle in England for the white heat of the trophy-chasing business end of the campaign with Toulouse, the French league leaders and Champions Cup semi-finalists. 

Toulouse have been looking for a replacement hooker for several weeks following the season-ending injuries to two of their Test level No2s, skipper Julien Marchand and Italy’s Leonardo Ghiraldini who each suffered a serious knee injury on respective Six Nations duty for France and Italy 

The 27-year-old Matavesi, who played in Cornish’s March 30 defeat to likely Championship champions London Irish, is reportedly due to arrived at State Ernest-Wallon on Sunday as a medical joker and commence training this week 

Minus both their internationals, Toulouse had been relying on their two remaining specialists: 22-year-old Peato Mauvaka, who put in an eye-catching performance in the European quarter-final win at Racing last Sunday, and 20-year-old Guillaume Marchand, the younger brother of Julien and an Under-20s World Cup winner last summer with France. 

This shortage has pointed Toulouse in the direction of Cornwall and the well-known Matavesi family. Sam’s dad Sereli was the first Fijian to play for Camborne and Cornwall after his arrival in the 1980s, and his brothers Josh and Joel have also made their mark in the game.

The Toulouse signing joined Cornish in December 2017 having played for Camborne, Plymouth and Redruth and last November the five-time Fijian international bridged a five-year gap between caps when chosen to start for the first time since 2013 in matches versus Scotland and France.

That latter cap resulted in a shock Fijian victory over the French and now, five months later, Truro-born Matavesi will call France his temporary home having previously combined his rugby at Cornish with work as a supply chain logistician at the Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose near Helston.

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Fijian Sam Matavesi is about to make a massive leap... from mid-table English Championship to trophy-chasing in France