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London Irish sign Api Ratuniyarawa

By Kim Ekin
Ratuniyarawa is literally ageless

London Irish have confirmed the signing of powerful Fijian second row Api Ratuniyarawa from Northampton Saints.

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The 35-year-old lock will join Declan Kidney’s squad for pre-season ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.

Ratuniyarawa, who has made 130 appearances for Saints in his six seasons at Franklin’s Gardens, arrived in the Midlands from Agen in 2016 and went on to reach the Premiership semi-finals and win a Premiership Rugby Cup for Northampton.

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Andy Goode previews the EPCR 2022-23 season

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Andy Goode previews the EPCR 2022-23 season

The second-row forward, who stands 6 feet 6 inches and weighs 19 stone, has played for Saints in four Champions Cup competitions and was named the team’s breakout player of the season in 2017/18, his first complete season.

The Fijian made his debut for his country in 2012 against England in front of a Twickenham crowd. He went on to represent Fiji in the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups and has now gone on to represent his country on 38 different occasions.

DoR Kidney emphasised how Ratuniyarawa’s recognised Premiership and international experience will serve the Exiles squad well.

“Api is a very experienced player who we identified as a good fit for the team, and he will be an important member of the squad at London Irish next year.

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“He has many notable attributes we hope will aid us in furthering our results on the pitch and assist in the development of the younger members of this Club.”

Ratuniyarawa – who was born in Sigatoka – says he is delighted with his move to the Brentford Community Stadium next season.

“London Irish is a fantastic club, and I am aware that I am joining at a significant time in the team’s journey.

“I am really excited about taking this next step in my rugby career, and having played in Brentford already this year, I now can’t wait to pull on the green jersey and play in front of the London Irish fans.”

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Turlough 6 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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