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Fijian’s Edinburgh move will boost club and country

Guinness PRO12 Editor

9 Jun 2010

Fiji back-row forward Netani Talei has been tipped to be a Magners League smash hit for Edinburgh, with the move also destined to help the South Sea Islanders in their attempts to succeed at next year’s World Cup.

The 27-year-old signed a three-year deal last week to move north of the border from Worcester Warriors alongside Scotland centre Alex Grove.

Talei has won 16 caps for his country and Fiji prop Graham Dewes reckons his international team-mate will prove to be a valuable addition to Rob Moffat’s side as they look to build on a promising Magners League campaign last time out.

"It's awesome news and it's great to see he is doing very well overseas,” said Dewes.

“Netani is a key player for us and it's unfortunate that he was not with us to play Australia.

"He is a top ball carrier who plays in the traditional Fiji way and we hope he will be able to represent us in the tour to the northern hemisphere later this year."

Following Worcester's relegation to England's second tier, Talei's move increases the growing number of flying Fijians plying their trade in Europe's elite competitions.

Talei made more than 50 appearances for the Midlands club and will meet up for pre-season training at Murrayfield following Fiji's participation in the Pacific Nations Cup later this month.

And Dewes, who is based in New Zealand, believes the exposure of the South Sea Islanders' talent is a major factor behind their development which saw the entertainers reach the quarter-finals of the 2007 World Cup.

"Netani signing for Edinburgh can only help Fiji rugby,” added Dewes.

"The experiences the players gain are very important and when they come back to the national team, they share those experiences with the local boys. They learn and feed off them to move forward.

"We can play and compete against the best in the world. We took South Africa to the wire in the last World Cup and we hope to do the same again next year in New Zealand.

"But the development in Fiji rugby is down to the number of players playing in Europe. A lot of the lads are playing for big clubs overseas in the big competitions. It's only good for Fiji."