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Former Hayward U19 player Otusia Tupouata may well be the next big thing overseas, as he has already garnered some interest from clubs in France.

Tupouata is a 6-4, 250-pound center who was impressive for the Northern California youth program, routinely steamrolling defenders throughout the region. He was at the University of Utah playing football, but has since left school.

San Francisco Golden Gate president Tony Wells was in contact with coaches from Hayward and was looking to get Tupouata back into rugby. At the same time, European-based agent Nick Robinson, who placed Samu Manoa with Northampton, was looking for a similar player for other clubs – Manoa’s outstanding play with the Saints has helped pave the way for more Polynesian-American players.

Tupouata was recently flown out to France to train with La Rochelle, and he showed well, but paperwork and red tape (and France’s high domestic unemployment rate) is a constant speed bump to negotiations for players and he is still looking for a club. Currently he is back with SFGG, and may well play with that club this season.

The 21-year-old, hard-running center who puts some in mind of Thretton Palamo, is set to take a massive step forward if he is able to train regularly with the club.

Robinson told RUGBYMag.com that he is shopping Tupouata fairly aggressively.

“The priority for Otusia was college, but if that wasn’t going to happen, we had other options for him,” Robinson said.