Northampton statement: Fijian lock signed to replace David Ribbans
Northampton have announced the signing of Fiji Test lock Temo Mayanavanua as their replacement next season for the France-bound David Ribbans. It was last month when the English-qualified South African forward announced that he would end his Test career by exiting the Saints and instead take up a three-year deal with Toulon in the Top 14.
That left Northampton with a gaping hole to fill in their engine room and they have responded by getting Mayanavanua on their books for next term. A statement read: “Northampton have secured the signing of Fiji international Temo Mayanavanua, with the lock set to join ahead of the 2023/24 season.
“The 25-year-old arrives at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens from French side Lyon where he has spent three seasons and racked up 55 appearances so far across the Top14 and European competitions.
“Mayanavanua, who clocks in at 6ft 6ins and 120kgs, has scored two tries for Lyon and previously enjoyed a three-season stint with Northland in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship.
“Mayanavanua is also the nephew of Sevens legend Osea Kolinisau, who captained Fiji to their first Olympic gold medal in 2016. Born in Bau, Mayanavanua captained his country’s U20s side in 2017 before making his senior international debut against Georgia in 2020 – he has racked up nine Test caps so far for the Flying Fijians and scored on his uncapped debut against the Barbarians.”
Northampton boss Phil Dowson said: “Temo is a big, athletic lock who also boasts that high skill level we look for, coming from the Fijian international environment. Speaking to him I have been really impressed by his desire to improve, as well as the journey he has been on and the self-awareness he has about his own game.
“He left Northland and went straight into the Top14, and once he adapted to the physicality of that league he has played consistently and is enthusiastic about doing a lot of the ugly stuff which doesn’t necessarily get noticed.
“We think we can get plenty more out of him as well, and he wants to continue to get better and better. We’ve had some great Fijian guys in our group in recent years, who not only contribute on the pitch for Saints, but are really valuable members off the squad off it as well – and I am sure Temo will be the same.”
Mayanavanua added: “I’m very excited to sign for Northampton Saints and head over to play in the Gallagher Premiership – one of the best leagues in the world. I have watched Northampton from afar for a while now, and I love how the team plays, looking to always keep the ball alive. It’s an exciting squad with a lot of young players, so I can’t wait to get into the mix at Saints, try to learn more and improve as much as I can.
“I first heard about the club from some of my Fiji teammates in camp. Of course, there are always nerves when you move to a new country and new competition, but they all had a lot of great things to say about Saints, and they are players I trust and look up to which helped me make my decision.
“I have enjoyed chatting to the coaches about their vision for the future, and the Club has a proven track record of helping players to get better. I’ve learned a lot over the last two years in France, particularly around playing in a more physical competition. Coming to Europe from New Zealand, it is a completely different ball game.
“The tempo of the Premiership is something that really excites me, and if I can bring some physicality with me, I believe Northampton will be a fantastic place for me to develop both aspects of my game.”
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G'day, Nick. Sorry to see you've gone from the other place. It will be a poorer experience for many because of it. As others mentioned, your detailed analysis and commitment to engaging with every person commenting on your articles stood out and was the main reason I ended up joining 5 years ago. I'll be spending a bit more time over here now I think.Go to comments
Think you boys forgot that Graham Henry coached the 2011 All Blacks and that Hansen/ Smith were assistants. The cross was shouldered by Henry. Erasmus' point here is that he and Nienaber are looking to win back to back WC's as head coaching combos. A bit of a reach because he is now the DoR and not the coach with the title anymore, but we all know who the real brain behind this Bok squad/strategy is.Go to comments