All Black winger on his way to Toulon in place of Kolbe
NEWS: All Blacks winger Leicester Fainga’anuku will join French club Toulon later this year, his New Zealand side the Canterbury Crusaders said Thursday.
The 23-year-old has taken up an 18-month contract to play in the Top 14 competition in what could be seen as a replacement for Springbok winger Cheslin Kolbe, who recently parted ways with Toulon.
Fainga’anuku will link up with Toulon after the Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in France this September, the Crusaders said.
The burly winger made his two Test appearances so far for New Zealand in last year’s home series defeat to Ireland.
The Crusaders back said the move to France “ticked a lot of boxes for me both on and off the field”.
Tonga-born Fainga’anuku has chalked up more than 50 Super Rugby appearances since his debut for the Crusaders in 2019.
The Christchurch-based Crusaders host the Fijian Drua on Saturday in this season’s quarter-finals as the New Zealand team bids to win a seventh consecutive Super Rugby title.
Fainga’anuku said he was relishing the move to Toulon, which he described as a chance to “throw myself in the deep end, be vulnerable and be challenged”.
“It’s super exciting for me to face a whole new environment, a new competition and a different style of footy (rugby),” he added.
He is the second Crusaders star to announce they are heading to France following the Rugby World Cup after All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock revealed last week he will join Pau.