Pacific | Rugby

More light needs to shine on Wallis and Futuna rugby players.

According to Samoan film sports documentary maker Jeremiah Tauamiti.

The country of French Polynesia may be the most underrated spot for young rugby talent according to one sports documentary maker.

Wallis and Futuna, a Pacific Island country under the French colony have produced household names in the national team of France.

Family, Faith, Footy documentary maker Jeremiah Tauamiti feels there’s a huge untold story of the number of rugby players they have.

“They are a country we weren’t able to shine a light on, but per capita Wallis and Futuna they actually have the most rugby players in the world.

That’s another story that deserves to be told. For such a small nation they have a wealth of talent”

Wallis and Futuna is a country with a population of approximately 11,500; if they aren’t playing volleyball, it’s rugby in the backyard.

They are producing players for the French National team such as Centre Yoram Moefana, Hooker Peato Mauvaka, and the new captain of the women’s team Manaé Feleu.

Feleu captained France against the Black Ferns earlier in the year and in a statement told World Rugby “It’s easier to come to New Zealand than to France.”

Hinting to her connection with Aotearoa after spending three of her last high school years at Karamu College in Hawkes Bay.

The Native Language of Wallis and Futuna have no name but their dialect is a mix between Samoan and Tongan as both countries shared occupancy pre-missionaries in 1837.

Officially taken by the French throne in 1888 they have been a pool of talent for mainland France, offering lucrative opportunities.

Samoan Tauamiti says on his travels in Europe and meeting Pacific rugby players, he touched on the culture shock players from Wallis and Futuna get when scouted.

Referring to the Netflix movie ‘Mercenary.’ It’s a tale of an outsider getting by in a field that can chew up and spit out those who don’t strike it lucky.

“Sadly there’s been a few players who have taken their own lives, after feeling so isolated and struggling to be away from their family.

Our documentary (Family, Faith, Footy) shows that without that contact the players really struggle and clubs need to do a little bit better a whole lot better. They can’t just use these guys, this is just modern slavery, unfortunately,” Tauamiti says.

Amazing to see the influence the tiny Pacific nation, Wallis & Futuna (Population 15,000) are having, not just on France Rugby but on the pro game there 🇫🇷💪🏽

Posted by Pacific Rugby Players Welfare on Thursday, December 3, 2020

Wallis and Futuna is named to have more professional and semi-professional rugby players worldwide per capita, despite no reports of exact numbers.

They include Romain and Sebastian Taofifenua (Toulon and Bordeaux Clubs), Vincent Pelo (La Rochelle Club), Raphael and Pierre-Gilles Lakafia (Toulon and Castres Club) and Christian Tolofua (Saracens Club).

They are part of the 100-plus players who play in Europe from the Pacific island area despite having the same population as Kaiapoi.