Ospreys Rugby are delighted to confirm the signing of highly rated Highlanders tight-head prop, Ma’afu Fia, on a three year deal.
The 25-year old has established himself as a Super Rugby regular since his debut in 2012, making 39 appearances for the Highlanders, while he has also played 61 times for Manawatu in the ITM Cup, helping them to Championship success in 2014.
Tongan born, Fia and his family moved to New Zealand 14 years ago, and he was capped by the Baby Blacks, helping them to the 2009 Junior World Championship title.
Standing 1.78m tall and weighing in at 116kg, Fia will arrive in Wales later this month as he completes the final stages of his rehab following knee surgery earlier in the year, having satisfied independent medical assessments back in New Zealand relating to his recovery.
Confirming the Fia signing, Ospreys Rugby General Manager, Andrew Millward, said:
“The signing of Ma’afu is a significant one for us. He’s someone we targeted quite some time ago, and we would have hoped to confirm this signing much earlier in the year, only for him to pick up a ligament injury early into the Super Rugby season. We’ve monitored his recovery and are happy that he will make a big impact in an Ospreys jersey.
“He is a quality young tight-head with considerable experience who brings physicality to our front row, helping to create the strength in depth we need to be competitive all season long.
“Rugby is an attritional sport, and the front row is one of the most attritional areas of the lot, so it’s important we have options available to us. With international call-ups and the inevitable injuries, experience shows us that we can use 10 or more props across a season, so Ma’afu’s presence will give us a considerable boost and we look forward to welcoming him to the Liberty Stadium."
Tight head Oliver Tomaszczyk, who arrived on a short-term deal at the start of September, has now left the region.