Connacht secure signing of Tonga international lock Leva Fifita

Leva Fifita has played 19 Tests for Tonga
Leva Fifita has played 19 Tests for Tonga

Connacht have announced the signing of Tonga international lock Leva Fifita ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Fifita started his professional rugby career with Mitre 10 club Waikato in 2016 and is currently playing for Grenoble after making 85 appearances for them spread across four seasons.

He will be reuniting with Dewald Senekal at the Irish club as the 31-year-old is set to join Connacht as forwards coach in the summer. Fifita played under the 40-year-old at Grenoble between 2017 and 2019 when he was the joint head coach of the club.

“I’m very excited to be joining Connacht Rugby," he told the club's official website.

"I know Dewald very well from my time in Grenoble and after chatting to Andy Friend I believe this is the right step to make in my career. I’m looking forward to moving to the West of Ireland and play my part in helping the team succeed into the future.”

Fifita made his international debut for Tonga in June 2017 and has gone on to play 19 Tests for his national side with his last appearance coming during the 2019 World Cup.

Connacht head coach Andy Friend believes Fifita's inclusion will add balance to the squad.

“In Leva Fifita we have been able to identify all the attributes we were looking for in a new lock.

"He is a tall, strong athlete who will complement our existing second rowers, and also brings with him a good deal of experience at club and international level. We’re really pleased he has decided to join us and I know he will fit in nicely with the squad”.

Connacht are positioned eighth in the Rainbow Cup with two wins from four games and will face Ospreys in the fifth round at The Sportsground on Friday.