Super Rugby

2016 to be Fonotia’s last Super Rugby season




Crusaders back Kieron Fonotia has agreed to leave Christchurch and New Zealand and play in Wales for the Ospreys Rugby Club after the Super Rugby season.

Fonotia is playing his fourth season with the Crusaders and will complete his sixth season with the Tasman Makos in this year’s Mitre 10 Cup before heading offshore. He says he feels satisfied with what he has achieved here in New Zealand and ready to take on a new challenge at the end of this year.

“I was playing club rugby for New Brighton and working as a tiler when I got called into the Wider Training Group for the Crusaders. It was more than I could have hoped for and I’ve loved every minute in that jersey,” Fonotia said.

“I think I have played for three of the best teams in the world – New Brighton, the Tasman Makos and the Crusaders – so it was not an easy decision to leave all of that behind. But the Ospreys Rugby Club looks like another awesome team that I am sure I am going to enjoy, and when I looked at the options I knew that the timing was right for me to take on a new opportunity overseas. I will give everything to the Crusaders and the Makos in 2016 and leave feeling like I gave it my all and grateful for the opportunities I’ve had.”

Crusaders Head Coach Todd Blackadder said Fonotia had been an important addition to the team when he came in via the Wider Training Group in 2013.

“We had seen what he was doing for Tasman and we liked what we saw, so we pulled him into our Wider Training Group. However he ended up making his debut early in the season and immediately made an impact, scoring with his first touch of the ball. He has added size, toughness and X factor to our backline. He will be missed next year but we are going to make the most of this final season with Kieron and try and make it one to remember,” Blackadder said.

Crusaders CEO Hamish Riach thanked Fonotia for the contribution he has made, and continues to make: “We never like to see our players move on, but we understand Kieron’s decision and will send him off with our very best wishes. He has made a worthy contribution to this team and organisation and we know that he is determined to make an impact again in 2016 before heading to Wales.”

Fonotia departs at the conclusion of the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup for a two year contract with the Ospreys Rugby Club.

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