Toulon are trying to convince flyer Josua Tuisova to learn the secret arts of the wing forward, it has been reported.
The Fijian Olympic Sevens champion has has touched down 24 times in 66 outings since joining the club at the start of the 2013/14 season.
Now, the Top 14 club’s coaches are keen for the 23-year-old to move from the wing to the backrow, according to regional newspaper Var Matin. To date, the paper says, the player has resisted their efforts at persuasion – and it has to be said, backrow stocks are healthy at Toulon. But could we one day see him packing down with Duane Vermeulen and Marmuka Gorgodze?
For some, the notion of wingers as flankers conjures images of Jonny May ‘helping’ England’s yellow card-depleted pack at a scrum in November 2016.
But there is method in the Toulon braintrust’s madness. Tuisova’s wrecking ball runs are well-known in the Top 14 and further afield. And he would not be the first to move from the backs to the back row in France. Two current players are already doing it – which it what has probably prompted Fabien Galthie to pop the question to his muscular wingman.
Semi Kunatani’s career at Toulouse was going pretty much nowhere until he moved from the wing to the flanks over the summer. Two games into the new season, the new-born backrow man is fast winning admirers and clearly influencing people beyond the boundaries of Stade Ernest Wallon. His switch is probably permanent.
Meanwhile, La Rochelle’s nominal centre Levani Botia switches between the back row and the backline for fun. He seems more than comfortable playing either at centre or seven. He was a key player in the club’s charge to the top of the table last season.
In fact, one player has made the occasional switch the other way. Stade Francais’ young openside and former sevens star Sekou Macalou started on the wing in last season’s rearranged match at Castres Olympique.
And, yes, 24-stone prop Uini Atonio has played a number of times in the second row for La Rochelle – though it will come as no surprise to anyone that he did little in the way of lineout jumping, for which his team-mates must have been profoundly grateful.