Fijian Drua centre signs premiership rugby deal

Photo: Fijian Drua

Premiership rugby club Bristol Bears has signed Fijian Drua centre Kalaveti Ravouvou ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam has secured the signature of one of Super Rugby Pacific’s breakout stars last season, in the form of the tackle breaking Ravouvou, as he looks to rebuild the focal points of his backline.

Ravouvou, 24, made his Super Rugby debut for the Fijian Drua, the recently formed Fijian-based franchise, and exploded onto the scene in dramatic fashion as finish the competition sixth in the standings for metres made with 1,162 from just 12 appearances, fifth for defenders beaten with 51, while scoring three tries in the process and winning multiple man of the match awards.

He played the majority of the 2022 Super Rugby season at inside centre but also wore 13 on his back on a couple of occasions.

The 6ft 1in, 14 stone 11lb Ravouvou is a triple threat, with power, mobility and speed and his talents were recognised by the now departed Fiji head coach Vern Cotter who named him in his Flying Fijians international squad for the Pacific Nations Cup in the summer and then Autumn Nations Series. where the centre scored a try against Ireland in Dublin.

Bottom of the Premiership table Bristol have been relatively quiet in the transfer market so far with just one confirmed addition ahead of next season in the form of England international back Max Malins. Malins, who scored a brace for England on Saturday in the national side’s 29-23 defeat to Scotland in the opening game of the Guinness Six Nations, is expected to arrive as a replacement for former All Black Charles Piutau.

The signing of Ravouvou, which is due to be officially announced by the club shortly, comes following reports centre Sam Bedlow is wanted at Sale Sharks while Fijian star Semi Radradra is expected to leave the Bears for French Top 14 side Lyon next season.

In truth, the Bears have been searching for the missing piece of the puzzle at 12 since the departure of former Tonga international captain Siale Piutau who left the club in 2021 for a lucrative deal at Japanese League One side the Shimizu Koto Blue Sharks where he is still playing at 37. In the last couple of years Lam has shared the inside centre duties between Bedlow, Ioan Lloyd, Piers O’Conor and James Williams.