NZ-born lock Meafou commits to France over Australia

New Zealand-born Toulouse lock Emmanuel Meafou has rebuffed Eddie Jones's Australia and is hopeful of representing France at next year's Six Nations once his eligibility is signed off by World Rugby.

The 24-year-old - born in Auckland to Samoan parents - grew up in Australia and played lower-tier rugby with clubs in Melbourne and Sydney before ending up in France at the end of 2018 following a failed bid to break into American football.

Having lived in France for over four years, Meafou will soon be able to represent the nation when he meets World Rugby's five-year residency eligibility criteria.

"I would love to play for France," Meafou said in comments published by Britain's Telegraph newspaper.

"There's a lot of paperwork being done in the background but, as of now, I'm not eligible for France for the World Cup.

"I definitely will be eligible for 2024, for the Six Nations, but not right now."

Meafou said Wallabies coach Jones had enquired with him about his future.

"I had a good chat with Eddie," he added.

"I told him that I had made a commitment to France, this is home now, I've been here for almost five years so I'm committed to France whether I play in the World Cup or not.

"All the best to Australia; I'll always call Australia home because that's where I grew up, but for rugby and what I want to give back to France, I'd like to represent them on the big stage."

Rugby Australia confirmed the country was no longer pursuing Meafou.

"We wish him well," a spokesperson said.

Meafou has already developed a positive relationship with France coach Fabien Galthi+, who will hope to guide Les Bleus to their first World Cup title on home soil when the tournament starts in September.

"Fabien Galthie just wants me to continue what I'm doing on the field, working hard off the ball, stuff like that," said Meafou.

"Right now, I'm working on myself and winning something at Toulouse. I think we're very capable - in both Top 14 and the European Cup - so that's where my focus is now."