VAKATAWA SCOOPS AWARD:

Fi­jian-born con­tin­ues 7s cir­cuit show­ing

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Fi­jian-based France winger Vir­imi Vakatawa con­tin­ued to show why he is one of the most ef­fec­tive play­ers on the sev­ens cir­cuit af­ter he by picked up his sec­ond DHL Im­pact Player award of the se­ries in Paris. Vakatawa, who last won the im­pact player ti­tle at the first tour­na­ment of the se­ries in Dubai, was on fine form at the Stade Jean Bouin in front of a vo­cal home crowd. His text­book step­ping and of­fload­ing game caused de­fences all kinds of prob­lems and led to him scor­ing six tries in to­tal.

If you look more closely into Vakatawa’s stats you can see his real value is in at­tack for France. While he can turn over ball and make cru­cial tack­les, his 28 car­ries across the three days are proof he is France’s most po­tent at­tack­ing weapon, along with the likes of cap­tain Terry Bouhou­rua who reg­u­larly tracks Vakatawa’s breaks to latch onto off­loads.

The 24-year-old’s de­vel­op­ment as a player across the se­ries un­ques­tion­ably has led to France’s growth as a team.

They achieved their best fin­ish of the sea­son af­ter beating Ar­gentina in the third place play-off and with one round to go there’s no doubt­ing that all eyes will be on the French star, whether fans or op­po­si­tion play­ers. The per­for­mance tracker for Paris fea­tured five dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties in the top seven spots, with Fiji, Samoa, France, Por­tu­gal and South Africa all rep­re­sented. Voda­fone Fi­jian star Jasa Vere­malua fin­ished just three points be­hind Vakatawa, pro­duc­ing some par­tic­u­larly strong stats in de­fence with 21 tack­les. Samoans Tila Mealoi and Faalemiga Se­le­sele made it into the top five af­ter help­ing their side to the ti­tle in Paris, while Por­tu­gal’s Ader­ito Esteves also fea­tured high up on the per­for­mance tracker af­ter some cru­cial per­for­mances se­cured his side’s first Shield of the sea­son. Over­all in the per­for­mance tracker for the se­ries it’s Vere­malua who is out in front but closely fol­lowed by South African speed­ster Se­abelo Se­natla. Se­natla scored a whop­ping 10 tries in Paris, so look out for him in Lon­don as he will be sure to be in the top scor­ers.

France 7s player Vir­imi Vakatawa on the run against the Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s team.

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