A cursory glance at Bordeaux Begles top signings ahead of the 2018/19 suggests a strong argument can be made that it’s the most impressive spending spree of any Top14 club in 2018.
While the signing of Semi Radradra made the headlines earlier in the year, Bordeaux have not skimped elsewhere. The French side have signed 16 players in total, and their recruitment drive has a thoroughly Polynesian feel.
Eight of the 16 hail from the islands, while a further two hail from Pacific Nations Cup guests Georgia.
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Storied veteran Brock James hardly needs an introduction, having slugged it out for Clermont over the course of 289 appearances. More recently he clocked up another 32 for La Rochelle before signing for Bordeaux.
Now 36-years-old, the Australian born 10 has played 63 European games and scored 495 points according to the ECPR.
Never actually capped for Australia at XVs at senior level, he represented his country at age-grade level before moving to Europe in 2006.
In the form of his life, the 26-year-old centre cum wing joins Bordeaux-Bègles on a three year deal.
His average gain per carry was 12.4 metres in 2018 and he beat 39 defenders over the season. An imposing physical presence at 6’2.5 and 104kg.
As if Tamanivalu wasn’t enough to worry about, the prospect of Semi Radradra will scare the life out of side. The 26-year-old Fijian was a wrecking ball for Toulon in his debut season in the Top14, but surprised many when he switched to rivals Bordeaux.
“When I decided to switch to rugby union and to come to Europe, I wanted to come to Toulon, because it’s the greatest European club and one of the best in the world. I wanted to be part of this world. The club has a great history, won many titles and Jonny Wilkinson played there.”
While the Toulon dream has ended, the former NRL star appears to be here to stay in Union and is targetting the 2019 World Cup with Fiji. He made his senior international debut for his native country in the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup this year and was also part of their Sevens squad this summer.
Test lock Kane Douglas joined the Queensland Reds in 2015 on a three-year contract after returning home to Australia following a season with Irish club Leinster. Standing at 202cm and weighing 123kg, Douglas made his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs in 2010 and played his first Test for the Wallabies in 2012. In 2014 he made the decision to experience rugby overseas and moved to Leinster to play in the European PRO12 competition.
Douglas was a key member of the Wallabies 2015 Rugby World Cup squad, but suffered a serious knee injury in the Final against the All Blacks and is expected to miss much of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Eto Nabuli grew up playing the 15-man code in Sigatoka, Fiji, but his first stint as professional sportsman saw him play National Rugby League in Australia for three years.
An imposing figure standing at 197cm and weighing in at 108kg, Nabuli has experienced a rapid rise in his professional career. In 2013 he was named in the NSW Cup Team of the Year after scoring 29 tries in his first season. In 2014 he made his international rugby league debut for Fiji and starred for the Panthers in their 2014 NSW Cup Grand Final win over Newcastle.
He then signed a one-year contract with the Dragons to play in the NRL in 2015 – scoring seven tries in his 13 games. He joined the Reds on a two-year contract ahead of the 2016 Super Rugby season.
Georgian international Beka Gorgadze joins from Stade Montois. While relatively inexperienced at club rugby, the 22-year-old has already amassed 11 Georgian caps, scoring 5 tries.
Powerhouse Samoan prop Viliamu Afatia (28) joins from Racing 92, having previously enjoyed a stint at Agen.
According to the ECPR he has made 17 European matches in four seasons, including nine Challenge Cup appearances. He has played 21 Tests for Samoa and was part of their 2015 World Cup squad.
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