Open main menu

Malakai Fonokalafi Fekitoa (born 10 May 1992) is a Tongan born New Zealand rugby union player who plays as a second five-eighth or centre. He currently plays for Toulon[3], but has signed a deal to move to Wasps[4] at the end of the 2018/19 season. He played for the Highlanders in the Super Rugby competition, for Auckland in the ITM Cup, and for New Zealand internationally. He was a member of the title-winning 2015 Highlanders side, and of the 2015 Rugby World Cup winning New Zealand side.

Malakai Fekitoa
Malakai Fekitoa 2015 RWC.jpg
Malakai Fekitoa playing for the All Blacks
Birth nameMalakai Fonokalafi Fekitoa
Date of birth (1992-05-10) 10 May 1992 (age 27)
Place of birthHa'apai, Tonga
Height1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)[1]
Weight99 kg (15.6 st; 218 lb)[2]
SchoolTonga College
Liahona High School
Wesley College
Rugby union career
Position(s) Centre
All Black No. 1131
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
2017–2019
2019–
Toulon
Wasps
30
0
(40)
(0)
Correct as of 16 January 2019
Provincial / State sides
Years Team Apps (Points)
2012–2017 Auckland 29 (30)
Correct as of 19 August 2017
Super Rugby
Years Team Apps (Points)
2013-2014
2014–2017
Blues
Highlanders
6
65
(10)
(100)
Correct as of 22 July 2017
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2014–2017 New Zealand 24 (40)
Correct as of 10 July 2017

Early lifeEdit

Fekitoa was born in Ha'apai, Tonga. After playing for Tonga 7's on a tour of New Zealand, he was offered a rugby scholarship and enrolled at Wesley College.[5][6]

CareerEdit

He made his debut for Auckland in the ITM Cup in 2012,[5] making 12 appearances and scoring 3 tries,[7] and was signed by the Blues for the 2013 season.[8][9] However, he only made one appearance in 2013 for the Blues against France,[citation needed] and signed with the Highlanders for the 2014 Super Rugby season.[10][11][12][13] He was a key member of the Highlanders title winning-side in 2015. In July 2017, Fekitoa confirmed that he had signed a two-year contract with French Top 14 side Toulon.[14] In January 2019, it was announce that Fekitoa had signed for English Premiership Rugby side Wasps from the beginning of the 2019–20 season.[15]

All BlacksEdit

Fekitoa was only eligible for selection for the All Blacks after completing three years post-education residency in New Zealand. After completing his residency period, he was selected as a rookie in the All Blacks squad for the June 2014 test series against England, with coach Steve Hansen having signalled interest in him during the Super Rugby season.[16] He made his debut as a replacement player in first test of that series, a 15–20 win. With first-choice centre Conrad Smith injured out of the third and final test of the series, Fekitoa moved into the starting XV. His performance earned praise, with the Herald on Sunday saying that "the All Blacks coach has found the most elegant of solutions for Conrad Smith's back-up, one who carries more of an attacking threat than the veteran centre".[17]

Fekitoa was selected again in 2014 for the All Blacks squad for The Rugby Championship. He was originally named as a reserve for the first test against Australia, however, with Conrad Smith and his wife expecting, Fekitoa was called up into the starting XV.[18] He was a member of the 2015 Rugby World Cup winning New Zealand side.[citation needed]

Fekitoa became a regular starter for the All Blacks in 2016, combining with Ryan Crotty to form the midfield partnership for the Wales series in June. Fekitoa began to experience very erratic form however, and did not play against Argentina and South Africa that year. Fekitoa lost his starting spot to Anton Lienert-Brown, coming off the bench for the final Bledisloe Cup and the first Ireland fixture that year. Fekitoa re-gained his starting spot for the next two tests due to Crotty being injured, with Lienert Brown moving to inside centre so that Fekitoa could play outside centre. Fekitoa scored 2 tries in two games, the All Blacks were against Italy and Ireland. Fekitoa was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle against Ireland, so was cited and suspended for the final test match of the year.[citation needed]

Fekitoa was not initially selected for the All Blacks in 2017 for the British and Irish Lions Tour but was called up for the third test match after Sonny Bill Williams was issued a red card for a shoulder block hit on Anthony Watson of the Lions in the second test match.[citation needed] Fekitoa played his final test match for New Zealand on 8 July 2017 in the final test against the Lions, coming off the bench to replace Ngani Laumape.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://stats.allblacks.com/asp/Profile.asp?ABID=1131
  2. ^ http://stats.allblacks.com/asp/Profile.asp?ABID=1131
  3. ^ "Numbers". RCT - Rugby Club Toulonnais. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Malakai Fekitoa: Wasps sign All Blacks centre from Top 14 side Toulon". 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  5. ^ a b Long, David (26 August 2012). "Newcomer Malakai Fekitoa fending for himself". Rugby Heaven. Fairfax. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  6. ^ Napier, Liam (7 October 2015). "Malakai Fekitoa's journey from Tonga to All Blacks had some timing issues". Rugby Heaven. Fairfax. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Malakai Fekitoa Auckland Player Profile". Archived from the original on 7 February 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Malakai Fekitoa Blues Player Profile". Archived from the original on 9 February 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  9. ^ "Blues squad announced for 2013" (Press release). Blues. 31 October 2012. Archived from the original on 26 January 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Highlanders 2014 Squad Announced" (Press release). Highlanders. 30 October 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2014.
  11. ^ Cheshire, Jeff (7 April 2014). "Six stepping up for Highlanders". Otago Daily Times. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  12. ^ Rattue, Chris (11 April 2014). "Fekitoa shows star potential". New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 13 April 2014.
  13. ^ Eade, Shaun (27 April 2014). "Fekitoa pushes claim for place in All Blacks". Rugby Heaven. Fairfax. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Fekitoa confirms Toulon move". Planet Rugby. 21 July 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Wasps capture All Black centre Fekitoa". Wasps. 16 January 2019. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  16. ^ "Hansen admits All Blacks interest in Fekitoa" (Press release). All Blacks. 4 May 2014. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  17. ^ McKendry, Patrick (22 June 2014). "All Blacks: Fekitoa takes big step up to centre stage". Herald on Sunday. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  18. ^ Mortimer, James (16 August 2014) Conrad to have baby, Wallabies to get Malakai. allblacks.com. Retrieved on 4 November 2015.

External linksEdit