Leicester wing Kini Murimurivalu has been sharing his experience of the French TOP14 with his Tigers team-mates ahead of a European semi-final with RC Toulon.
The Fiji international spent 11 seasons in France – first at Clermont and most recently with La Rochelle – and has been able to give his new club mates an insight into the European powerhouse of Toulon ahead of their Challenge Cup semi-final on Saturday (September 26, 8.00pm - UK time).
“Toulon’s head coach [Patrice Collazo] was our coach back in La Rochelle,” Murimurivalu explained.
“He was the one who gave me the opportunities to play, so I know him quite well.
“Watching Toulon, you can see they have a big forward pack, they have the French flair and with a crowd behind them, we know they will be tough to beat at home.
“But now I’ve shared with the team … the thing for me to do now is listen. I really love it here because we’ve been working together as a whole squad to prepare the team.”
The match marks a first European semi-final for the Tigers since 2016, and their first in the Challenge Cup competition.
But with 11 of Toulon’s 16 international players making up a star-studded forward unit – including Rugby World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth, French national captain Charles Ollivon and Italian legend Sergio Parisse – Tigers know they must be the hardest-working team on the pitch on Saturday evening.
For Murimurivalu, who made his debut in the Gallagher Premiership win over Northampton Saints, the challenge will be one to savour.
“I have just played the one game, and it has already been tough competition in Premiership Rugby,” he continued. “I am loving it and enjoying myself at the moment.
“For me, it was always a dream to come to England to try and play in the Premiership after I heard from my friends who were playing here and said ‘it’s good over here, the rugby’s good’.
“Now, with these kinds of opportunities [like Saturday], you grab them with both hands and do your best in what you can give to the team.”