Leicester Tigers tell 6'4, 109kg Mapapalangi to put 'some size on'
Leicester Tigers backrow Valentino Mapapalangi has been to put a bit of ‘size on’ over the summer break.
The 6’4, 109kg backrow has just finished his first season at the club but Tigers coach Matt O’Connor wants him to bulk up over the summer.
Already a powerful ball-carrier, the Tonga international agreed a move to Tigers in the summer of 2017.
“They want me to put size on. That won’t be too hard to do, especially going with Tonga,” he told Leicester’s offical youtube account, LTTV.
“We’ve got touring and Fiji, so that shouldn’t be too hard to make. There’s a lot of food in Fiji, that’ll be an easy target to make!”
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“They want me to eat good food and put on good weight, not fat.”
The request suggests Matt O’Connor wants a bigger, heavier pack for next season’s Premiership campaign.
The backrow will represent Tonga at the 2018 Pacific Nations Cup which will be hosted in Suva, Fiji between 9 and 16 June.
The World Rugby-funded tournament, which provides important high-performance preparation for teams ahead of Rugby World Cup 2019, sees Georgia joining Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.
Educated in Auckland, New Zealand, Mapapalangi spent two seasons in the Auckland youth teams and then two years with Waikato before joining Manawatu in 2015 as well as spending time with the Chiefs development squad.
He joined the Manawatu squad for the 2015 ITM Cup season, scoring three tries in nine appearances and attracting interest from the Hurricanes who invited him to join their wider training group during the 2016 Super Rugby pre-season.
His form also earned a place in the Tonga squad during 2016 and made his first Test appearance in a win over over Spain in November that year.
After playing in the 2017 Mitre Cup with Manawatu in New Zealand and in the summer Tests for Tonga, Mapapalangi secured a move to Welford Road.
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