Virimi Vakatawa (born 1 May 1992) is a New Zealand-born French Rugby Union player who plays for Racing 92 in the Top 14 and the French national team. His position is wing and centre. He joined the French 7s team in 2014 and in January 2016, he was included in the French national team for the 2016 Six Nations Championship.
|Date of birth||1 May 1992|
|Place of birth||Rangiora, New Zealand|
|Height||1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||99 kg (218 lb)|
|Rugby union career|
He began his career in Fiji playing for his school Nasinu Secondary School before being recruited by France-based Fijian winger Sireli Bobo and joining Racing Métro 92 in 2010. He was mentored by another former flying Fijian in Simon Raiwalui. He played his first game in the 2010–11 Heineken Cup where he scored his first try against Leinster.
On 13 June 2017, it was confirmed that Vakatawa would be rejoining Racing 92 for the 2017–18 season.
On 19 January 2016, Vakatawa was named in France's rugby union squad for the Six Nations Tournament by Guy Novès. He has been labelled as the French answer to All Black Sonny Bill Williams. He made his debut against Italy scoring a try.
In October 2016, he was included again in the French 15's team even though he has yet to play for a Top 14 team. He played his first game on the wing against Samoa, scoring three tries. He played a week later against Australia scoring a try in their 23-25 loss. He partnered Noa Nakaitaci on the wings and was renamed alongside Noa in their final test of the year against New Zealand. He was also named in the French 7's team for the 2016 Dubai Sevens a week later.
However, a complete season and some physical glitches were enough to demonstrate the limitations of this model. The incompatible schedules and the differences in athletic preparation did not allow him to be free for all the Tournaments of the world circuit, nor truly perform at the highest level for either team.
On 13 June 2017, it was announced that Vakatawa and the Federation had agreed to release him from his contract so that he could be able to find a club and play rugby union full-time. As part of this new deal however, he would still be available for the 2018 Rugby World Cup Sevens in the Bay Area.
|1.||6 February 2016||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||Italy||2016 Six Nations Championship|
|2.||12 November 2016||Stadium Municipal, Toulouse, France||Samoa||2016 November test series|
|5.||19 November 2016||Stade de France, Saint-Denis, France||Australia||2016 November test series|
|6.||11 March 2017||Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy||Italy||2017 Six Nations Championship|
|7.||6 October 2019||Kumamoto Stadium, Kumamoto, Japan||Tonga||2019 Rugby World Cup|
|8.||20 October 2019||Ōita Stadium, Ōita, Japan||Wales||2019 Rugby World Cup|
- "Virimi Vakatawa - Racingmen". Racing 92 (in French). Retrieved 20 September 2019.
- "Virimi Vakatawa Profile". Itsrugby.fr. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
- "Virimi Vakatawa retourne au Racing 92". L'Équipe (in French). 13 June 2017. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
- Gavin Mortimer (13 February 2016). "Virimi Vakatawa: France's new wing wonder". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
- "Virimi Vakatawa prolonge avec la FFR de deux saisons". L'Équipe (in French). 24 May 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2017.
- "Classement des marqueurs d'essais Saison 2018/19". sports.fr. Retrieved 15 June 2019.