Fiji lock heads to Premiership
NEWS: Fiji lock Api Ratuniyarawa is leaving France to join Northampton Saints in England.
Ratuniyarawa will leave French side Agen to join the Premiership club.
The Fijian second row is in his fourth season at Agen, having played 70 times for the club, but is now seeking to make the next step in his career in England.
He is no stranger to the East Midlands, having played for Fiji against Uruguay at stadium MK in Rugby World Cup 2015, one of his 19 international caps, and he recently helped his country win the 2016 Pacific Nations Cup.
The 30-year-old Ratuniyarawa pack a physical punch that will be vital in the Saints second row, and director of rugby Jim Mallinder is looking forward to seeing him in action in black, green and gold.
"Api [Ratuniyarawa] is a strong, athletic, physical lock and he has the potential to make a big impact in the Premiership," Mallider said.
"He has plenty of experience, both at international level and in the challenging environment of French club rugby, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do at Franklin’s Gardens," he added.
Ratuniyarawa says that he is looking forward to experiencing English rugby.
"I’ve enjoyed playing for Agen, which is a great club," he said. "But now I’m looking forward to the next part of my career in England. It is a decision which I have made as much for my family as for myself, and I am grateful to Northampton’s coaches for giving me the opportunity.
"I know from my Fiji teammate Campese Ma’afu that it is a great club and hopefully I can help the Saints achieve success in the Premiership,"
Agen’s chairman of the board Alain Tingaud wishes Ratuniyarawa nothing but the best as he leaves the French club.
"Api [Ratuniyarawa] has been a good servant to Agen for the last three seasons and he has been a big part of our team," he said.
"We understand that it is his family’s desire to live in an English-speaking country, which is why we have agreed to release him early from his contract, and Api [Ratuniyarawa] leaves with our best wishes for success in England with Northampton," he added.