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130kg prop the latest All Black to leave NZ

By Ian Cameron
Atu Moli of New Zealand praises after the Rugby World Cup 2019 Group B game between New Zealand and Canada at Oita Stadium on October 02, 2019 in Oita, Japan. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Chiefs prop Atu Moli has become the latest former All Black to leave New Zealand as the post-Rugby World Cup transfer exodus continues.

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Australian Super Rugby Pacific franchise Western Force have confirmed the capture of the prop, who can play either side of the scrum.

Capped five times by the All Blacks, his last coming at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, Moli is thought to harbour a desire to play for Tonga under World Rugby’s new eligibility laws.

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Prior to his Test run, Moli skippered the New Zealand U20s to victory in the 2015 World Rugby Under-20 Championship.

Moli’s joining the Force coincides with Santiago Medrano’s contract extension and the inclusion of off-season signings Lopefi Taifua, Harry Hoopert, Will Harris, Harry Potter, Ben Donaldson, and Nic White; who are all set for the 2024 season.

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The addition of the 6’3, 130kg Moli has pleased Force’s head coach Simon Cron.

“One of the positions we needed to add squad depth was at tighthead prop,” Cron said. “Atu brings with him a wealth of experience which will benefit us on the field, as well as helping to mentor some of our developing front row forwards off the field.

“The fact he can swing, and play both sides, gives us some flexibility and is a very unique skillset.”

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“Atu feels like some of his best rugby is still ahead of him. It’s now our job to help him achieve that.”

Moli is also excited by the prospect.

“I’m looking forward to taking my young family across to Australia,” Moli said. “I have very much enjoyed my time at the Chiefs but excited for a new challenge.

“In speaking to Simon Cron and some of the boys playing at the Force, I’m excited about where the club is heading and to be a part it.

“When playing against the Force previously I’ve seen how loyal and passionate the supporters are. It will be great to meet and get amongst the fans next season.”

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4 Comments
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Bob Marler 286 days ago

Im not sure why this is news worthy. Because he’s 130kg? Because he wants to play internationals - even it means playing for Tonga? If he hasn’t played for the ABs since 2019 - I think he’s free to do as he pleases as a professional.

Unless the issue being dealt with here is the potential loss of talent by NZRU? I’m not sure NZ has a problem with talent coming through their systems. If there are players in excess of their requirements, who cares about this?

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Phillip 288 days ago

I think we should stop viewing this as a bad thing. The game has changed and players should be free to go to where they get the best deal and if their performance is monitored and good, they should be selected for international duty. This opens up spots for new talent to come through in domestic competitions. Half the Springbok team is playing in Europe,UK and Japan, I view this as an advantage not having all your eggs in one basket with all the players playing the same brand of rugby in the same competition every year.

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Billy 289 days ago

Moli is so injury prone he hasnt played for 2 seasons and yet he was once potentially great. Also unlucky with concussion ...

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MitchO 289 days ago

He’s welcome but qld have picked up a low test number former AB prop too. Why bother to leave nz for Oz? More relevantly the nsw Tahs are screaming for a good tight head

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