All Blacks to feel Tuilagi pain as 145kg French beast given RWC eligibility hope
By Rugby Onslaught

All Blacks to feel Tuilagi pain as 145kg French beast given RWC eligibility hope

The entire professional rugby world outside of France gave a universal sigh of terror today after finding out that Toulouse lock Emmanuel Meafou might be eligible for France at this year’s World Cup after all.

It was initially believed that the Australian-born lock would only be available to play for Les Bleus from the 2024 Six Nations, but The Telegraph has reported that the French Rugby Federation are looking to exploit the same loophole that the All Blacks used last year to fast track scrum-half Folau Fakatava to play for them despite not fulfilling the new five year residency requirement, as he was eligible prior to the rule change without being capped.

France now hope that the 2.03 metre, 145kg lock, who has been part of the Toulouse academy since December 2018, will get the same treatment.

The 24-year-old has slowly been building quite a following over the past few seasons due to some monstrous pieces of play. Perhaps the biggest statement he has made has been completely sitting down England’s Manu Tuilagi in the Heineken Champions Cup in January. With the All Blacks set to open their World Cup campaign against Les Bleus, plenty of players from New Zealand will be fearful that they will suffer the same fate.

Take a look at the carry:

Meafou is currently playing for the French powerhouse after taking a somewhat indirect path. He initially tried to play in the NFL, where he had to gain a significant amount of weight, reaching a massive 160kg. Although his current weight of 145kg and height of 2.03m make him slender in comparison, he still demonstrates considerable power on the rugby field, as Tuilagi can attest.

Speaking on Le French Rugby podcast last year, Meafou said that he wants to play for France, which is an exciting prospect for Fabien Galthie.

“Oh man, I want to play for France,” Meafou said. “France is definitely on my radar. There’s been a little bit of discussion around it and I’ve been working around getting my passport, but I want to play at top level.

“I’ve been here now for over three years now so I would definitely love to play for France – if that came up I would definitely say yes to that. Until then, I want to play some good rugby for Toulouse and see what comes from it.”