Falcons swoop for Fonua

Thu, 11 Aug 2016 12:25
Large opeti fonua 800

NEWS: Newcastle Falcons have signed Tonga back-row forward Opeti Fonua from Leicester Tigers.

The 30-year-old, capped 11 times by Tonga, has scored five tries in 21 Premiership appearances over the past two seasons for Leicester as well as touching down a further 11 times in his 21 European outings.

Fonua arrived in England after seven seasons with French clubs Agen and Bayonne.

He joins fellow Tonga internationals Nili Latu, Sonatane Takulua and Taione Vea in the Falcons squad.

"It is an honour to be joining Falcons, and I hope I can play a big part in lifting the club," Founa said.

"Things are in place for the Falcons to have a big year, and the fact that many of Tonga's best players are already in the squad here was a big part in my decision. I have been up here for a few days already to get things sorted, and I have been impressed by the boys and the set-up."

He made his international debut in 2009, the back-row man played for Tonga during World Cup 2015 and was involved in this year's June internationals, scoring in his last two tests against Georgia and Samoa.

"Opeti is a big physical specimen who will cause a lot of trouble for defences," said Director of Rugby Dean Richards.

"He strung together a good series of appearances for Leicester at the end of last season as well as featuring strongly for Tonga during their summer international programme, and he is already up here training with us.

"Through our network of Tongan international players, we have been able to get a good picture of Opeti, both from a playing and a character standpoint. 
 
"He gives us a different dimension, he is already experienced in Premiership rugby and he is looking good. We look forward to seeing the contribution he will make to our team and I am sure our supporters will enjoy his very direct approach."

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