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Snubbed All Blacks No.8 expected to land in France

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Out of favour All Blacks No.8 Pita Gus Sowakula is being reported to be on his way to France in the next few weeks – according to French outlet Rugbyrama.

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Sowakula was part of the All Blacks squad during Ireland’s tour of New Zealand earlier this year but strangely found himself out of contention by the time the Autumn Nations Series came around, despite doing a more than decent job for the Test side.

It left quite a few pundits in NZ scratching their heads.

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“Can someone tell me what Pita Gus has done? He’s done something, he’s either smashed one of the coaches at training… I don’t get that,” ex-All Black John Kirwan said of Sowakula’s disappearance back in October.

Now Rugbyrama has linked him with a move to Top 14 heavyweights Clermont, who are on the look out for a new back row wrecking ball. Veteran No.8 Fritz Lee is now 34 years of age and his contract runs out at the end of the current season, while Peceli Yato’s contract is also coming to an end.

Born in 1994 in Fiji, the 6’4, 110kg Pita Gus Sowakula was originally destined for a career as a basketball player before he made the switch to rugby union.

Either way, any potential move to France will likely destroy any future prospect of him playing for the All Blacks ever again after just two caps.

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One possible – if somewhat tenuous – theory as to Sowakula’s selection snub is that Ian Foster’s All Blacks capped him just to ensure that he was an option for them for at least another three years. As it stands, Sowakula will only be eligible to play for Fiji if he doesn’t feature for New Zealand until July 2025.

Another more plausible theory is that he fell out of favour following the change over in All Blacks coaching staff following the humbling series loss to Ireland.

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