Bristol Bears have announced the signing of Fiji utility back Semi Radradra, who will join the Premiership club ahead of the 2020/21 campaign.
A standout individual across both rugby codes, Radradra arrives at Ashton Gate from Top 14 outfit Bordeaux-Begles on a three-year deal.
27-year-old Radradra averaged 100 metres a game at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, lighting up the competition pool stages with a string of sensational displays, including a brace against Georgia.
During his time in the Australian NRL (National Rugby League), Radradra was named Dally M winger of the year for two seasons in a row, scoring 82 tries in 94 games for Parramatta Eels.
“There is no doubt that Semi is one of the best players in the world – he’s truly a world class performer and we are so excited about what he can do for the team,” said Bristol director of rugby Pat Lam.
“Every top club across both codes on the planet wanted him, so for Bristol to be able to bring in a player of his quality underlines the fantastic work that the club is doing.
“Semi has clarity about our vision and knows what the club want to achieve. As a person and a player, he is perfect for our culture which places an emphasis on community and high performance.
“I got to know Semi well at the Barbarians and we were blown away by his professionalism and dedication. He is world class because of the relentless work and preparation he puts into his game, day in day out. It’s no surprise that he has taken the World Cup and French Top 14 by storm – Semi is the ultimate professional.
“We believe the Gallagher Premiership is the best league in the world and Semi’s arrival into the league will only enhance the product further. He’s an unstoppable force and we are looking forward to seeing him light up the competition for the next three seasons.”
Radradra has enjoyed a stellar club career so far, representing Toulon and Bordeaux in the Top 14, following his switch from the NRL in 2016.
“I’m looking forward to coming to the Premiership and to be playing under Pat Lam at Bristol Bears,” he said.
“They are one of the most exciting teams in Europe right now and the way that they are doing things is making everybody take notice.
“I visited the world class facilities at Ashton Gate and saw the progress of the new training ground – it’s a fantastic club to be joining with a bright future ahead. I can’t wait to get started and contributing to the Bristol Bears vision.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Radradra has ruled out a return to Rugby League and said his days in the 13-man code are behind him.
There has been plenty of speculation about Radradra’s playing future after he delivered several outstanding performaces during Fiji’s recent Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan.
Australian Rugby League clubs South Sydney Rabbitohs, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and Parramatta Eels were all linked to Radradra, who had a stellar career with the Eels between 2013 and 2017, but the 27-year-old ruled out a return to the NRL.
“I know there are a lot of rumours going on and talking about a return to (Rugby League), but a return to (Rugby League) is not an option for me,” Radradra told French newspaper Sud Ouest.
“I already proved myself in (Rugby League)… the NRL is behind me, it’s over. I already proved that I was one of the best Fijians in this league.
“Playing (Rugby Union) pleases me, I love it more and more. I’m in a different environment … I still have a lot to learn and things to prove.”
-Story derived from Planet Rugby