Maqala extends Bayonne stay

Fiji’s Sireli Maqala is pursued by Britain’s Ethan Waddleton in their men’s rugby 7s match at the 2020 Summer Olympics. Picture: AP Shuji Kajiyama

Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Sireli Maqala has extended his stay with French second division club Bayonne.

Maqala, who was part of the Fiji 7s team which won gold in Japan last year, extended his contract with the club until 2024 – a one-year extension to his club.

He became Fiji’s fourth Tokyo champion to sign up for club rugby in France after Pau’s Aminiasi Tuimaba, Castres’ Vilimoni Botitu and Toulon’s Jiuta Wainoqolo.

The utility backline player, who joined Bayonne in November last year, has played 15 matches, missing only three to help finish second on the standings and book a semi-final spot.

“I am very happy to stay one more season here. I had planned to get to the Top 14 with Bayonne in two years maximum,” Maqala said in a club statement.

“I’ve tied myself up until 2024 but I hope that we will go back to the Top 14 in the next few weeks.

“It’s a real personal goal to evolve into the Top 14 and by staying here, I know that I will progress because I will still learn a lot. And today, I don’t regret at all my choice to have joined Bayonne. Club president Philippe Tayeb said he was pleased with Maqala’s decision to stay on in Aviron.

“After the late arrival of Sireli at the beginning of the autumn, we are satisfied every day to have such a player in the Aviron squad,” he said.

“Sireli is a boy of great quality, great professionalism and great kindness. We are therefore very happy to know that he will remain with us until at least the summer of 2024.

“We also thank the Fiji Rugby Union for facilitating this extension.”

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