France based player Albert Vulivuli has been given a chance to prove himself and earn a spot in the Flying Fijians team to play three test matches in Europe following the withdrawl of centre Kameli Ratouvou.
Vulivuli, 25, who plays for the Racing Metro 92 in the Top 14 competition, will be given the opportunity to prove his worth after an outstanding season with the Paris-based franchise.
Fiji Rugby Union chief executive officer Keni Dakuidreketi said yesterday that Ratuvou had been excused from the Fiji team to pursue further studies at an university in England.
"It's an encouraging sign for us that Ratuvou is focusing on his studies and building a career for himself outside of rugby and we'd like to wish him all the very best in his endeavours. We're confident he'll always have Fiji rugby at heart and Ratuvou remains in the picture with regard to next year's World Cup," Dakuidreketi said.
Originally from Savusavu, Vulivuli comes from a sporting family. His elder brother Thomas is a former national soccer rep while his younger sister Finau is one of Fiji's female soccer referees.
He is also a former St Bedes College rugby player and Fiji Schoolboy trialist in 2003 before winning a scholarship to attend Hamilton Boys High School in Waikato, New Zealand in 2004.
Vulivuli said he was honoured to be part of the Flying Fijians.
"I'm just overwhelmed to have been selected for Fiji and I can't really describe how I feel. It definitely is a dream come true," he said."
Vulivuli was a Fiji secondary schools trialist in 2003 but could not make the team after being ruled out with injuries.
However in 2004 he was awarded a scholarship, alongside current New Zealand 7s team player Savenaca Tokula, to attend Hamilton Boys High School.
He was part of the Waikato Under 20 team and the Waikato B team from 2005 to 2008 before moving across to Australia where he played for South Brisabane Club in Queensland.
He was recruited by the Queensland Reds and played one game against Auckland in 2008.
In 2009 Vulivuli made the move to France and played for Top 14 side Bourgoin.
, before switching to Racing Metro 92 this season.
Racing Metro 92 currently sits on top of the Top 14 standings a point ahead of second placed Toulose and also boast the services of Flying Fijians winger Sireli Bobo, number eight Jone Qovu and former skipper Simon Raiwalui.