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Munster set to sign former All Black Malakai Fekitoa

By Ian Cameron

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Munster are set to sign former All Blacks centre Malakai Fekitoa from Wasps – the Tongan-born star becoming the latest big name to head to the exit at the Coventry-based outfit.

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This weekend it was revealed that Scarlets have penned a deal with loose forward Vaea Fifita, but RugbyPass understands that Fekiota has also now confirmed his departure and that Munster is still the likely destination.

Fekitoa’s exit from Wasps has long been on the table but his exact destination remained unclear. It now appears that contrary to some reports, the Irish province have won the battle for the 29-year-old.

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Fekitoa scored eight international tries in 24 appearances for the All Blacks, including two tries at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. During his time in Dunedin with the Highlanders, Fekitoa racked up 20 tries in 65 Super Rugby appearances, as well as repping Auckland in the Mitre 10 Cup.

He can play at 12 or 13 and would help fill the void created by Damian De Allende’s rumoured departure. The Springbok’s contract with Munster expires in June.  The Limerick-based side already have Ireland centres Chris Farrell and Rory Scannell on the books.

On the flip side of the equation, it’s been a grim weekend for Wasps, who are facing the loss of a trio of New Zealanders in Fekitoa, Fifita and Gopperth – the latter who is said to be the target of Leicester Tigers.

“He is always someone you’re going to want to keep at the club,” Wasps DoR Lee Blackett said when asked about the rumours around Fekitoa. “Our big focus with Mala at the moment is just making sure we get him back from injury, back on the field as soon as we can.”

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The club are feeling a salary cap squeeze and their own profound financial challenges behind closed doors.

The club’s total debt is now £60.5 million according to accounts released last month for the financial year which ended in June 2021. In addition to the bond, £18.3 million of debt belongs to owner Derek Richardson while Wasps have also taken on £6.8 million of ‘other loans’ during their most recent trading year.

Their 2020/21 trading losses have been contained to £7.4 million by a £3.7 million revaluation of their PRL shares, meaning aggregate losses since moving to Coventry in 2015 are £49.3 million.

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