Johnny Fa’auli’s last act in Chiefs colours will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, with the under-fire midfielder set to depart at seasons end after committing to a two-year deal in Japan reports Stuff.co.nz.
Fa’auli is believed to be joining Japanese Top League club Toshiba, who are captained by former Chiefs player and All Black Richard Kahui. Liam Messam has also spent time at the club, solidifying links between the two teams. Fa’auli’s deal is not similar to structured off-season stints done for Jordan Taufua and Liam Squire. He leaves with no return to Super Rugby in sight, at least not in New Zealand anyway. He could push his way into contention with the Sunwolves under ex-Highlanders coach Tony Brown.
He was off contract at the end of the season but his deal was reportedly completed before he was red carded for this rising tackle on Hurricanes centre Wes Goosen.
His subsequent six-week suspension will be largely filled by August 31st, the day the Top League season begins.
With other midfield options Charlie Ngatai and Tim Nanai-Williams also moving on from the Chiefs, Anton Lienert-Brown will be looking for a new centre partner for next season. Sean Wainui could move in from the wing or Alex Nankivell, Sam McNicol, Levi Aumua and Regan Verney can push their cases forward.
Fa’auli attended St Kentigern College in Auckland, making the New Zealand schoolboys side in 2013. He debuted at in provincial level in 2015 with Counties Manukau before moving to Taranaki. He played 17 times for the Chiefs at Super Rugby level after debuting in 2017.
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