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Stade Francais land gigantic Fijian teenager

By Chris Jones
Janeiro Wakeham is unveiled at Stade /Credit: @SFParisRugby

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Stade Francais believe they have found the next ‘big’ thing in Fijian rugby by handing 6ft 10in lock Janeiro Wakeham a three year contract to join the Top 14 outfit.

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Wakeham has made it into one of the Top14’s most glamorous outfits just three years after making the Fiji U16 rugby team. The 18-year-old, who stands at 208cm, was first identified by FRU development officer Bill Gadolo in 2018 and was called to join the national U16 team in Suva.

“When I answered the phone call from Bill Gadolo, I thought it was the police, but when he told me that he can help develop my rugby skills to be a future Flying Fijian, I knew this is an opportunity to pursue my dream as a young rugby player,” Wakeham told the Fiji Times at the time.

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Having been given this unique opportunity to join the large contingent of Fijian players operating in the top European leagues, Wakeham has revealed that former Flying Fijian captain and European Player of the Year Leone Nakarawa has been his inspiration along with Nadi, Fiji 7s and Flying Fijians Semisi Naevo.

“My dad told me to look up to Nakarawa because of his achievements in the world of rugby and make it my aim to be like him in the future,” added Wakeham who joins former Fiji 7s winger Waisea Nayacalevu in the Stade Francais squad which also features All Black Ngani Laumape and Tonga’s Telusa Veainu.

The former Suva Grammar School student was also named in the Fijian Warriors 47-member squad and was part of the Fiji Rugby Union’s Elite Player Pathway program. He was the youngest player in the Warriors squad last year and was part of the Suva Under-20 team.

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Former Flying Fijians hooker Gadolo is the FRU elite player pathway manager and is currently identifying players for the Fiji U20 team with Wakeham one of the standout talents being produced by the programme.

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