CA Lormont Rugby welcomed the Flying Fijians to a public training session with their Under-8, Under-10 and Under-12 teams on the club's recently installed synthetic pitch.

Players including Simione Kuruvoli, Selestino Ravutaumada, Iosefo Masi, Zuriel Togiatama and head coach Simon Raiwalui guided the youngsters through exercises, technical drills and mini games, in between signing autographs and posing for photos.

CA Lormont co-president Olivier Rouhet said it didn't take much convincing to bring the Fijians to the club.

He said: "This event was not imposed on Fiji, it was their wish to come and for our kids it's amazing. It's a great reward for them, they are all crazy about Fijian rugby."

Fiji’s players delight the local community of Lormont by inviting the town to a training session. Photo: RNS / World Rugby

Rugby that makes you dream

Jean Touzeau, the mayor of Lormont, described it as a moment of happiness for all.

"Lormont is a town that welcomes people from all over the planet, and for us it's important to welcome the Fijians who are so far away geographically, but so close in terms of what they represent and their outlook on life, " he said.

"The Fijians really carry the image of rugby that we love, which is to say rugby that makes you dream."

For young Maël, a CA Lormont Under-12 player, getting up close and personal with the Fijians was an experience the 11-year-old will never forget: "It was awesome. We are so lucky to be able to see the Fijians. First we played a 'baseball rugby' game, then we played a match of touch rugby.

"They are very strong. I wouldn't want to have to tackle one of them!"

Coach Raiwalui said his team had recovered well from their historic win over Australia on the weekend and were feeling no shortage of French love in Lormont.

"We've got good support here in the French community and we're grateful to the ville de Lormont for hosting us. I think we're everyone's second-favourite team.”

Back to grass roots

Fiji were one of several teams out in the community this week – including Georgia and Namibia - enjoying the warmth and hospitality of their French hosts. Across Bordeaux from Fiji at the Stade Chaban Delmas on Monday, New Zealand were welcomed by 10,000 locals to an open training session.

In picturesque Perros-Guirec, meanwhile, it seems everybody is a Chile fan. The Cóndores have called the Brittany coast home since the start of the tournament and, when the team had their second open training session at the Stade Yves Le Jannou on Tuesday, chants of  “Chi chi chi…le le lé” rang out from the thousands of flag-waving locals in attendance.

At the end of the session, players signed autographs and posed for selfies to express their gratitude.