in Fiji, an academy to train and, above all, keep talent at home

After sixteen years of career, especially in France, former international Seremaia Bai has created a school to bring the hopes of his country.

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Seremaia Bai (center), in her academy, in December 2018.
Seremaia Bai (center), in her academy, in December 2018. Jean-Philippe Moulet

It's an age-old gym at the foot of ANZ Stadium, Suva's big stadium, home of the Flying Fijians. In this at the end of November 2018, at the heart of the austral summer, the Fijian rugby stars, such as Semi Radradra (Bordeaux) are in Europe, theater of autumn tours, and are preparing to write history by winning against blues. But one of their glorious predecessors shines in the wet: Seremaia Bai, two World Cups on the clock, 61 selections with Fiji, leads a bodybuilding session, gives the tempo of abs sessions, encourages, counts the weights.

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Under his command, players in training, such as Laisa and Eneri, dream of a professional career. They do not listen to anyone: Seremaia Bai, 40, is one of the heroes of the 2007 generation, the last to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Except miracle, after the defeat of the Fijians against Uruguay (27-30), Wednesday, September 25, it is not in Japan that his heirs will reveal themselves.

Loaded days

2016 Rio Rugby World Champions in Rio, Fiji still struggling to take off on the world stage at XV. If their nationals shine, it is under other jerseys: XV of France (Aliveriti Raka, Virimi Vakatawa), Australia (Isi Naisarani, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani), New Zealand (Sevuloni Reece), or England (Joe Cokanasiga)

Bai, he has made the choice to return home after eight seasons in France, between 2006 and 2014, punctuated by two shields Brennus with Clermont (2010), then Castres (2013), and a final freelance in England. "I came back for my children, for my country. I wanted to act on the spot to contribute to the development of Fiji. "

"If you want to keep all these good players, if you want them to play neither for France, nor for the All Blacks, nor the Wallabies, you must first ask yourself if you can pay them and if you can to offer a project »
Seremaia Bai

The ambition leads to busy days. He is a farmer. "I just planted banana plants", he says. And most importantly, he's at the head of his own rugby academy. "An admirable project", says Franck Boivert, 66, former technical director of the Fijian rugby team and now responsible for the detection of talent in the province of Nadroga for the Clermont club.


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