Tonga’s international right-back, a new USAP recruit, has a strong calling card that includes participation in the 2019 World Cup in Japan. He should stop the Catalan scrum, just like his friend Halanukonuka, from the same town as him.
Maa’fu Fia has yet to see her compatriot Sipa Taumoepeau. When Tonga’s international right team arrived in Perpignan, Sipa was playing Tonga in the 2023 World Cup qualifier. Maa’fu will soon have the opportunity to congratulate the Tonga center, who has just taken part in the beautiful victory in Hong Kong (44-22), offering the Tongans their ticket to France. USAP’s new right wing can play it.
His last selection dates back to November 6, 2021, at Twickenham… Taumoepeau’s first under the red shirt of Ikale Tahi, the Sea Eagles. Fia’s story is like two drops of water like that of these many islanders, forced to leave their end of the country in the Pacific for themselves to seek a better life elsewhere. “I was twelve years old when I left Tofua, a very small village located west of Tongatapu (Tonga’s main island), says Maa’fu. My father joined cousins who did organic farming and ran a farm of chickens. We settled in Palm North, New Zealand, in the south of the North Island.” It was there that he discovered rugby, at high school, Palm North High School. The only child of a family of five children, plays with friends and stands out for his handsome physique. “I started in the second row, then I moved up to the first row.” He never moved from there, playing in the Manawatu Province NPC and joining the Highlanders franchise, with whom he won the Super Rugby title in 2015 despite a knee injury Fia was also a Baby Black, winning the 2009 World Junior Championship in Japan.
In front of Poirot in Kumamoto
It was in Dunedin that he was discovered by European recruiting sergeants. He joins New Zealand coach Chris Gibbes, now assigned to the Swansea Hurricanes (Wales). “I was 26 years old, I always wanted to discover Europe, it was the right time, continues Fia. The right age to leave New Zealand and try the experience”. Here he is at the Ospreys, staying there for six seasons. After a difficult adjustment, he made a place in the sun, albeit in Swansea, the sun… After 102 games for the Welsh franchise, he went freelance in Bath, as a medical joker by the South African Johannes Jonkerl. Gibbes returned to New Zealand, the arrival of ex-Wales international Duncan Jones to take over the scrum and the signing of international Tomas Francis reduced his playing time. Giving young people a chance, I joined Bath for a few months as a freelancer”. It’s time to discover the Premiership and now his old friend Siua Halanukonuka, from the same village as him, Tofua, tells him that USAP is looking to strengthen on the right of the scrum. Bank! it is on the shores of the Mediterranean where he leaves his bags. His family stayed in Swansea before returning to New Zealand to educate their three children. From France, he only knows a few compatriots who live with us. He also played against the France XV at the Kumamoto Stadium in 2019. His only game as a World Cup starter at the head of the scrum, against Jefferson Poirot. Tonga, beaten 23-21, came close to repeating the 2011 feat.
You can count on Siua to reveal the underside of our scrums. With Arthur Joly, the axis
The usapist scrum right will not lack assets this season.